It used to be that waiting in line was considered a bad thing. And even mentioning long lines conjured up visions of overcrowded DMVs and frustration.
But today, lining up is the “in” thing to do. In fact, a lot of people are convinced that standing in line is the best way to get a great deal, whether they’re shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving, or first in line for Apple’s latest iPad.
The trend even has a name: Queue chic! But guess what – all that waiting may not pay off with lower prices, or a mood boost from the latest gadget.
But there is another payoff: Being socially connected! That’s because waiting is a shared experience; an “us against the world” type of thing.
Plus, shopping has become a social event. It’s why people brag about waiting in line at 3 a.m. for a store to open on Black Friday. People may not even buy anything – they just want to be part of something special. As one expert puts it, “time wasted is camaraderie gained!”
Also, when shoppers line up, they get validation that they’re making the right buying decision. It’s called “social proof.”
As in, everybody’s doing it, so it must be good. And that makes people feel good.
And stores encourage it! They want to make waiting an event, because a waiting crowd attracts attention, aka free advertising. And that can keep boosting sales even after the initial feeding frenzy dies down.