Christmas day is over and now the boxing day sales start.
Loads of people are rushing to get their hands on that special item at hugley discounted prices. But the 60 Second Economist cannot help but wonder..whats the cost to all this madness.
That’s right we pay for all these cheap items by spending hours in queues. So the next question to ask ourselves is what is the optimal strategy for standing in queues to minimise waiting times.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Operate queues like a market- demand, supply and competition. People pay to jump a space in a queue.
- Reverse queuing: Steven Landsburg suggests that we might change the convention and have arrivals to queues go to the front rather than the back! (Mad or what!) It would be those at the back of the queue jumping around to see if they should join a longer queue; assessing the speed of the checkout etc.
- One queue- have one long queue which leads to several checkouts. Queueing theory tells us that this is much more efficient.
- Take a child with you- there’s nothing worse than standing in a queue when you ahve a crying child. So take your kids lollipop away or soemthing to make them cry and the people in front of you will be willing to let you get to the front- because its just too irritating.
- Ask- That’s right, just ask nicely to the person in front.
”If you don’t ask you don’t get”