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How to choose the fastest line at a supermarket
How to choose the fastest line at a supermarket

You run into the supermarket for the essentials, hoping that it will take a maximum of 10 minutes. But then go to the checkout counters, and your plan is shattered. To prevent this from happening again, choose the right queue.

How to choose the fastest line at a supermarket
How to choose the fastest line at a supermarket

Follow the person with the basket full

This seems counterintuitive, but it actually reduces the waiting time.

The researchers found that it takes a certain amount of time to serve each customer: on average, 41 seconds to say hello, pay, say goodbye and pick up purchases, and three seconds to break through each product. Therefore, it turns out that a line of several people with fewer goods will actually move more slowly.

Let's count. It will take about six minutes to break through 100 products of one customer. If you queue up with four people, each with 20 items, it will take almost seven minutes to service.

If you add up this time, there is a lot of accumulation in a year. Richard Larson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that all Americans spend 37 billion hours a year in queues.

Turn left

Most people are right-handed and usually turn right, so there may be less queues on the left.

Pay attention to the cashier

If you notice that the cashier is especially talkative, talking to customers or commenting on products, avoid this line.

Study other buyers

It is not only the number of people in front of you that matters, but also their age and purchases.

For example, it takes longer to serve the elderly. They don't always know how to handle a credit card and generally slow down the queue.

Also pay attention to the number of different items in the shopping carts of the people in front. Punching six identical goods is faster than six completely different ones.

Choose a queue that leads to multiple cashiers

Such lines are usually found at airports and banks, but also in supermarkets. They move the fastest because the person at the front of the line approaches the first employee to free.

In addition, standing in such a queue, we feel a sense of relief, because we no longer have to choose which cashier to approach and doubt our decision.

Avoid queues with barriers

If the cashier cannot see the whole queue, for example, a wall or shelf closes the view, customers will have to wait longer for Masha Shunko, Julie Niederhoff, Yaroslav Rosokha. …

Speed up service

  • Place the goods with a barcode at the cashier.
  • When buying clothes, immediately remove the hangers and take out the labels so that the cashier can scan them faster.

Remember that waiting is only in your head

To some extent, expectation is just a psychological state. Most people tend to exaggerate their waiting time in line by 36%.

In addition, shoppers pay more attention to the length of the queue rather than how fast it moves. When choosing between a slow moving short queue and a fast moving long queue, we often prefer the first one, even if the waiting times in both queues are the same.

Also, remember that waiting is faster if you're distracted by something like talking to other customers or reading.