According to online statistics the average person spends about 6 months of their lives waiting in line for things. This equates to about 3 days a year.

I always choose the slowest queue. I can never pick a winning horse or a jackpot line of numbers but you can bet your bottom dollar that if there is a queue somewhere, I’ll be at the back of the longest one.

This is despite a great deal of strategical planning on my part; the weighing up of all possible influencing factors before making that final decision and joining my chosen line.

However, queuing is just part and parcel of our everyday life with increasing excess in demand for a product or service outweighing available supply of providers.

We are masters of the art of queuing in the UK and there are so many rules, which we almost subconsciously adhere to and there are different types of feelings, which can define your queuing experience.

Anxiety- where you aren’t sure if you are in the right queue, if you will ever finally get served or if you’ll get a ticket for parking because the wait is too long

Excitement – where you can at least look forward to the final reward

Frustration and anger- where the wait is long, unexplained or unreasonable

Irritation- when someone jumps the queue or saves a place for a friend

If you want something enough then you’ll wait but how long is it reasonable to wait for? And when is it ever worth it? How long do you wait before you give up?

It might well be a British tradition but I don’t like to have to queue for anything especially if it’s down to poor customer service.



When queuing is poor customer service


When there is only one checkout open but there are available staff clearly visible in the store.

When you’re waiting to be served and the only two assistants available are engrossed in conversation and oblivious to you.

When you’ve waited in one queue for what seems like hours only to be told you have to go to another desk but there was no clear signage for this.

When you’re told you’ll have to wait 15 minutes but you end up waiting over an hour.

When you are still number two on hold after 25 minutes but ‘your call is valuable to us and we know you are waiting.’



7 ways to avoid the queues this Christmas


Go to the furthest pay point first as people are inherently lazy in their tendency to head to the nearest checkout.

Don’t always opt for the self checkouts. They can drive you to exasperation and the process can actually take a third longer than normal checkouts. We only feel it’s quicker because we’re doing something productive.

Avoid weekends and busy peak periods. I haven’t personally ever visited a supermarket in my pyjamas but I’m often sorely tempted.

Sign up to the scan as you shop schemes in the stores. A pain to get used to but at least you can then trot around the store at your leisure scanning items as you go. Maybe takes longer in the long run but you are in control timewise.

Keep your eye out for chatty checkout operators as they hold the queue up.

Have your grocery shopping delivered as although shops close for just one day, there is always a widespread fear of impending famine in the stores.

Do your shopping online and avoid the shop queues completely. But then you’ll have to wait for the deliveries. That’s something to discuss in another post!


Merry Christmas everyone! Happy non queuing!












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