First come first served vs. High bid wins

Economics: Lesson 55

“In what area of your life would you prefer ‘first come, first served’ to ‘high bid wins’?”

When I first thought about this question I thought that I would prefer “high bid wins” to “first come, first served” on most things, but thinking about daily life and the normal economic principles that I am accustomed to “first come, first served” is preferable.
Gas stations are a good example of where the “first come, first served” principle is in place and that I am glad it is. If I drive up to a station, whether it is self serve or not, when a pump is open I expect the next person in line to fill up his tank with gas. If you are standing at the pump about to fill up your car, and someone suddenly drives up saying ‘I’ll be paying more, so move over” you would be very annoyed and not want to go through all the trouble of moving your car for the guy willing to pay more money. The “first come, first served” principle works well in this situation. With this being said, I do think the “high bid wins” principle can apply to gas stations in some situations. There are always gas stations with higher-priced gas, there is in my town, so someone who is in a rush could drive over to the more expensive but less busy gas station to fill up. This sounds more along the lines of “high bid wins.” In this sense the “first come, first served” principle applies to every gas station on its own, but ‘high bid wins’ applies to all the gas stations put together.

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