We Brits are renowned for our willingness to queue quietly – but new research shows people lose the plot within 11 minutes of waiting. It seems standing in line has lost its appeal…
I’m going to be honest about this: I’m an impatient person. I’m the sort of woman who, once she’s decided to do something, wants it done yesterday.
I am not the kind of person who is willing, content – or even physically able – to stand sweetly and silently in a queue that goes on forever.
However, I’m not alone. Research released today by the Payments Council suggests that the ‘typical British adult’ can cope with queuing for a mere 10 minutes and 42 seconds before their patience starts to fray.
Why I hate queues
Personally, I reckon I can only stand about five minutes of queuing before the red mist descends – unless there are obvious and acceptable reasons for my wait.
For the record, my top unacceptable reasons for long queues are:
- Shop assistants chatting about blokes, women, parties or anything else, instead of serving customers.
- Unmanned tills during busy periods.
- Staff shutting their stations to go for a break RIGHT NOW, in the face of miserable customers queuing for miles.
- Plain old incompetence. If you’ve ever stood waiting while the people at the till try to work out how to do a refund/process an exchange/void an incorrect transaction, you’ll know what I mean.
The Payments Council’s research throws up some interesting points. While the over-55s are likely to get antsy nearly three minutes earlier than younger people, they’re half as likely to take it out on those around them. Amusingly, top among the reasons for getting cross in a queue was other people “faffing around” in front of us – 66% of people can’t stand it.
The ways we avoid queues
My own hatred of queuing is one of the reasons I love the internet. I buy groceries, books, DVDs, and clothes on the web, and do 99% of my banking online.
In fact, if someone gives me a cheque for a small amount of money, I’m slightly ashamed to admit I will probably ask myself: ‘Can you really be bothered to go to a bank branch and cash this?’
Yet this is nothing compared to the lengths some people will go to to avoid queues, according to this research:
- 21% of people will go shopping at night to avoid queuing
- 18% of us will change what we buy or where we shop to avoid standing in line
- And – my personal favourite – 12% of young people admit to sending someone else to go and queue for them.
So how long can you queue for before your temper cracks? And what lengths would you go to for the sake of avoiding a queue?