Christmas Shopping, and Christmas Queuing…

It’s only 8 o’clock on a Monday morning and already, Sophie Castle has been queuing in traffic for half an hour. The early morning rush hour means a journey that would normally take her 25 minutes, now takes a staggering 52 minutes.

“It’s so frustrating and I get really bored waiting in traffic when I just want to get to work.”

In 2016, the UK was ranked the 11th worst country in the world for traffic queues and Sophie completely understands why. She works 5 days a week so, over a period of a year, she will spend 17 days travelling to work.



After a hard week in the office (and in stationary traffic) what could be more rewarding than a nice, relaxing Christmas shopping spree? Just what you need to waste yet more precious hours.

The festive season means everybody’s favourite day – Black Friday when the prospect of one-day-only discounts sends the nation into a frenzy. This year, student Abigail Standidge joined millions of others who braved the crowds. She and her friends spent five hours shopping and of course this meant a lot of queuing.

Philip Graves is a consumer behaviour expert and said queuing can impact a customer’s experience in many ways.

‘If the queue is not expected and, worse still, regarded as unnecessary or inefficient it may bring out the worst in us.’

‘Queues can also create excitement that causes people to buy things that they otherwise wouldn’t – the excitement and adrenaline of the queue / door-opening are misattributed to a product and people think it’s the product that’s making them feel so positive.’

But despite this reaction, more people are opting to avoid the queues to find good deals online. Only 8.1% of people in the UK take the day off work on Black Friday whilst 12.3% will shop online at work.

Ray Hartjen, marketing director for RetailNext said: ‘Black Friday is no longer the gigantic event it was just a few years ago. Black Friday is still big enough to create a ton of media buzz though, and it’s an important day for both shoppers and retailers alike.’

‘If online shopping has taught consumers any one thing, it’s taught them they don’t need to stand in line. For anything. Ever.’

Ordering online while at work may seem like the clever option, but in reality, you’re likely to be sat behind said desk when the postman comes to deliver your Black Friday bargains.

Sue Norman from Kent works weekdays so often misses her parcel deliveries. This means she must spend her Saturday morning at the delivery office with the rest of the town who have the same problem.

‘Saturday mornings are the worst because the post office closes early. I’m usually stood halfway down the road when I join the end of the queue which is not how I want to spend my weekend.’

LIFETIME COLLECTING PARCELS = 18 hours, 21 minutes, 36 seconds

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘In the run-up to Christmas, many of our customer service points are open longer hours – details for individual offices will be on the “Something for You” card we leave with customers.’

Our expert, Philip Graves believes that often retailers may not want to bust queues as they ‘can provide evidence that what the store has is worth waiting for.’

What is worth waiting for is a stiff drink.

Daniela Da Palma enjoys unwinding from a busy week with a night out with her friends. But she found that she spent 27% of her night queuing for a drink.

Daniela’s average wait on the night in question was 16 minutes and 24 seconds. Based on this, if she were to go to the bar 5 times in one night, she would be waiting for 1 hour and 22 minutes. In a year this is 2 days, 17 hours and 36 minutes!

LIFETIME AT A BAR: 7 months, 8 days, 12 hours!


‘It was a busy night so I knew I’d be waiting a while but not 16 minutes! It was ridiculous but I still enjoyed my night.’

There’s nothing better than a greasy fast food takeaway to cure the following morning’s hangover. Why not get someone to take you round a drive through? Maybe because you’ll be waiting in yet another queue.

LIFETIME IN A DRIVE THRU = 34 Days! Another month wasted…

By Liane Castle

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