1 Line or Many Lines

HBR reports that when a line to purchase something is 10 to 15 people long, purchases decrease by 10%, the takeaway being: more lines are better than one long line. Beef: Multiple lines are STRESSFUL. Long snaky lines can be intimidating, but there is a calm about them; there’s nothing to be done but to join in and the pleasant surprise is that they never take as long as you think. But multiple lines are the stress. They require choosing a line, very difficult, paralyzing almost—you have to size up the amount of items in various bags, gut-check how fast they’re moving, check out the cashier to see if she’s a slow mover. So much to think about! And then once you’ve finally choose one, you stand there looking at all the other lines to see if you chose the wrong line and then wondering if you should switch lines. Team 1 long line.

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3 Comments / Post A Comment

tussock (#1,296)

I love the one long line with multiple cashiers method. So easy! So fair! The thrill of getting to the top of the line and hearing your fate called out: “Cashier number FIVE, please!”

MissMushkila (#1,044)

I misunderstood this – because when I hear lines I think “grocery store”, and I have never been to a grocery store with 1 long line serviced by multiple cashiers – and I thought you were advocating fewer cashiers.

I actually drive outside the city to go to a different grocery store than the nearest one (same chain) because the one near me is constantly understaffed and waiting in a grocery line for an hour is THE WORST. I do not want to chat with people. I want to buy my chicken and bread and leave.

@fo (#839)

@MissMushkila “waiting in a grocery line for an hour”

What the who now??!??!!???!

Tell us that the city you drive out of is Gdansk, circa 1983, not anywhere in the english-speaking world, circa 2013.

I (and my whole family) would absolutely end up subsisting on 7-11 burritos if the only alternative were a 60 minute line at the grocery. I can’t stand more than about a 10 minute line *anywhere* and would rather go elsewhere and spend the same amount of time re-shopping.

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