The Art of Queuing

Anyone else exhausted after hitting the Boxing Day sales? There are queues to find a car park, there are queues to get into the stores (if you are there at some ungodly hour before opening), there are queues to try products on AND there are queues to purchase products. Surely these stores are missing something . . . people don’t like to queue!


If you have ever been to a Boxing Day sale then you will know what I am talking about. There are so many people everywhere you go doing exactly the same thing so great queues form. And I don’t mean queues of the fast food drive through type. I’m talking about queues of the Disneyworld variety. Long and twisted through row after row – but without the fun ride at the end, just a changing room!

Despite the large volumes, I think these department stores are missing something. People don’t enjoy queuing – especially when the end of the queue only holds an empty changing room and you probably have the wrong size which means re-joining that queue again if you have too much pride to strip down in the middle of MYER and try it on!

So surely something can be done to make the consumer’s day more productive? Because while stores may see queuing as the answer to such huge demand, it is really just decreasing the productive time consumers spend in your store. While they are waiting in the queue to try on their new clothes they are actually losing a bit of extra time they may have spent browsing that clothes rack just out of reach of the queue.

Plus, there is something mentally fatiguing about waiting in queues which means they get tired earlier and go home (where they can’t buy the heavily discounted products!).

Maybe the solution lies in supermarket deli style? Give queuers a number where they can continue to meander through the store until it is their turn to purchase their goods. Or maybe the answer is those bistro beepers that tell you when your meal is ready? I don’t know, but I’m open to suggestions in the comments below!

There has to be a better way to make each consumer’s day more productive while removing the potential migraine when they come home.

But amidst all the frenetic customers on Boxing Day there are certain employees who shine with their own clever ideas to make the consumers day more enjoyable. And I want to point out one at MYER. It was only small, but it completely changed my attitude towards shopping at the store and made me more positive about joining another queue.

Waiting in the line for the changing rooms, every now and then the attendant would come around with a bowl full of lollies. Fake teeth, multi-coloured snakes, raspberries. You name it, he had it. This simple gesture of generosity gave consumers something to look forward to in the queue and made me stop hoping the clothes wouldn’t fit so I didn’t have to join the queue to purchase them.

And the little sugar kick probably helped as well.

But seriously, there must be a more convenient way to allow consumers to make better use of their limited time at these crowded shopping holidays. Something which not only increases the revenue for the department stores, but actually means the consumers leave the shops with a positive attitude.

Although, until we come up with a solution – a couple of lolly snakes will do the trick!