LThe most desperate time to go shopping in a supermarket is when you think it will take at most 10 minutes to buy a packet of toilet paper, only to find yourself stuck in the checkout area with the traffic at the entrance to tourist attractions during the National Day Holiday. This time, you can only be annoyed at how you forgot your lesson last time, while quickly determining which line is the fastest and looking for a chance to survive.
New York Times reporter Christopher Mele offers a few tips based on the findings of researchers in the Psychology/economics of queuing. We’ve compiled four of them based on our observations:
In line behind a person with a full shopping cart
We tend to avoid the big-ticket shoppers who fill up their carts, and it seems faster to get behind a longer line. But the data suggest that’s not necessarily true.
A study by Dan Meyer, a former high school math teacher who is now the academic director of Desmos, a graphics company dedicated to making math fun, found that the average customer spends 41 seconds passing through the checkout line, including, in addition to scanning items, Customer cashiers greet, pay, change and finally say goodbye to the cashier, and the average time for each item to pass the scan is three seconds.
If you do a simple calculation, a person with 100 items will take less than six minutes to get through the checkout counter, while four customers with 20 items will take more than seven minutes.
Of course, it’s hard to predict whether that person will choose to swipe the card at the time of payment, try two cards and find the balance is insufficient, and finally pay successfully because the name is too long to sign for a long time, or whether the troublesome payer will appear in the four people. It’s just a reminder that you don’t have to avoid people whose carts are too full. Sometimes it’s just quicker to follow them.
Go to the cash register on the left
With 20 or 30 tills at the same time in a large supermarket during peak hours, you might not be able to tell which direction to go to find the shorter line, let alone the above calculation.
Robert Samuel, founder of Same Ole Line Dudes, an app that stands in line for people, said most people are right-handed, and they often subconsciously turn right. So when you can’t see the line on either side, try turning left first.
Don’t go to the aisle without a cashier in sight
If there’s a wall or shelf between the line and the checkout counter, so the cashier can’t see you and so many people in front of you and behind you, a study from the University of Washington shows that cashiers are more nimble when they know exactly how many customers there are.
Study the people ahead of you
It’s not just their numbers, it’s their age and what they’re buying.
Someone who bought six cokes checked out faster than someone who bought six different items, while an older customer might have swiped her card the wrong way or forgotten her pin number. But while you’re obviously experienced and considerate, there’s another kind of person who might be more to be wary of in the era of mobile payments, according to Curiosity Institute
Only when the cashier collects all the goods and says, “The total amount is $45.7 or cash,” will they calmly take out their mobile phones to unlock, open Alipay/wechat, find the payment page and wait for the payment code to come out, and look at dozens of frantic customers behind them like a flash of smoke.
One of the secrets to checking out quickly is to avoid them. The only angel you can trust is the one with your wallet or phone in your hand. Oh, and those of you who have been smirking at your phone should also be aware that they can’t get away from the chat screen/video player/reading 52% of the progress of “The College Girl’s Intimate Master” and then call up the QR code for payment any faster.
In general, in addition to luck, you probably need to know a little mental arithmetic, game theory and psychology. To some extent, all waiting is a mental game taking place in your head, with research showing that people overestimate how long they wait, on average, by 36%. It’s only a dozen minutes, but it always feels like half a lifetime, and it’s only a fraction of a second, and yet we still feel miserable about the slow pace of our queue and regret the wrong choice we made two minutes ago.
Speed is a tricky thing. According to a study by Ziv Carmon of InSEAD and Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University, faced with a long, fast-moving line and a short, slow-moving line, people tend to choose the short one over the fast one. Although the wait time is about the same.
One not-so-new finding about the psychology of queuing is that waiting times tend to get shorter when you’re less focused on the queue. When you’re feeling anxious, talk to a friend (if you have one) or flip through the product descriptions on the shelf. Never mind that the person next door is several steps ahead of you at the same time.
And most importantly, don’t think “I’m always in the slowest line, I’m still in the slowest line, and no one is behind me” or “I just have this dumb, unfortunate constitution,” because the truth is that those smooth lines are easy to ignore, and once you have that cursed thought, things will always go your way. Really.
Travellers seeking a personal touch and insider stories would do well to consider staying at a local bed and breakfast (B&B).B&Bs “are more intimate, with much more personal attention.
“Sunset at the Palms invites travel enthusiasts to experience the healing warmth of the ever-present sunshine” says Ian Kerr, managing director. The white-sand beaches and tropical foliage in the heart of Negril is designed to provide a truly serene, intimate, and restorative getaway.