DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Have you ever stood in line at the grocery store and wondered, ‘Is that line over there moving faster?’
Dr. Metin Yildirim at the University of Texas – Dallas’ management school has not only wondered these thoughts but he’s done research on it.
“There is really deep talk that goes into studying these systems,” he explained.
Grocery stores also analyze how long customers wait in line. The supermarket chain, Kroger has even installed overhead infrared sensors at all of its stores to track when and where customers are in line.
Who knew waiting in line at the grocery store was so high-tech and complicated?
But all you really need to know to pick the fastest check-out line are these top five tips.
- Get behind the shopper with a cart full of groceries. This may seem like the last place you want to be, but the math shows a shopper is often better off behind one cart-full of groceries than behind handful of customers in the express lane. The reason is, regardless of whether a customer has one item or a hundred, it still takes time to say hello, pay, say goodbye, and leave the lane. According to research by math-guru Dan Meyer, this process takes on average more than 40 seconds, while scanning and bagging an extra items takes less than three seconds.
Bottom line, the express lane isn’t always the fastest option.
- Don’t get behind a cart full of produce. Even more important than looking at how much the person head of you line is buying is looking at what they are buying. A cart full of produce, which can’t be quickly scanned and often has to be looked up by the cashier, will take much longer.
- Choose the single line that leads to several registers. There’s a natural tendency to avoid this kind of line because often it’s physically the longest line. However, Dr. Yildirim said research shows this type of line, often associated with a bank, is more efficient. One of the majors reasons he said is because it prevents one slow person from holding up the entire line.
- Face barcodes towards the cashier. Finding the bar codes and then facing them in towards the cashier is a simple way Robert Samuel, the founder of the professional line sitting company Same Ole Lines Dude, suggested in a New York Times article that you can help your cashier speed up your check-out.
- Go left. Samuel also points out that ninety percent of the population is right handed so naturally most people tend to head to the right. So do the opposite, head left for a shorter line.
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