Why One Single Check-Out Line Is Way Better
Have you noticed that Niagara Produce check-out lines start as one line, and you go to a free cashier once you get to the front of the line? Did you ever wonder why there isn't one line for each cashier? No? Well I have! The reason is that it's actually a fairer, faster, and better, way of doing business. And I can prove it. 1. It's better If you have ever gone somewhere with several individual lines, you know that everyone tries to get in the fastest line. It's an obvious thing to do, but it's also almost impossible to choose correctly. There are random hiccups in check-out sometimes. Someone can have a huge cart, someone has to do a price check, or there's a credit card that isn't working, or anything else. Those hiccups are randomly distributed throughout the lines, so if there are 6 lines to choose from, you will only pick the fastest one 1 time in 6 tries. 2. It's fairer With just one line, things are fairer because everyone waits in the same line, and the person at the front goes to the open cashier. This has a big effect on the distribution of wait times. Check out this chart that scientists made: It graphs the difference in minimum and maximum wait times for a 'single line' place and a 'multiple lines' place. 'Single line' places have all the data clumped in the low numbers because everyone waits about the same amount of time. Multiple line places have data that's all spread out, because sometimes there's one person in one line that waits 30+ minutes more than someone in another line! Multiple lines are less fair, single lines are more fair. 3. It's faster As you can tell, there are real scientists working on this issue. They're called Queue Theorists and they help make lines better. They have done simulations and math and found that with three registers, the single line approach is actually three times faster, as well. So, the next time you're standing in the single line, think about all the scientific research that has gone into making your time in line as efficient as possible!