If this weren't so dumb I'd laugh. According to Reader's Digest (who reported from Popular Science), there are folks studying the theory of 'queues'. ACK! Here are a few facts you never wanted to know:
1. An equation has been developed to predict when a customer will avoid a line if he feels it is too long.
2. There is a monthly journal devoted to the issue! Queuing Systems: Theory and Applications is used by amusement parks, banks, retail, fast food restaurants.
3. Why do you care? According to the smarty pants, those winding rope serpentine lines look longer, but people feel they are more fair.
4. Why do you care replay. What do you guess is the amount of time a person takes to gather their things after paying at checkout? The term for this is 'faffing' (SHEESH, there are definitions of this stuff). Scroll below for the answer.
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Answer: Average 3.17 seconds. Don't let me catch you with your stopwatch next time at the market.