Whole Foods Masters The Art Of Waiting

Make text smaller Make text larger

Good news, Whole Foods has revolutionized [queue management], that’s the science of keeping lines moving for those of you not in the know. [The New York Times](http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/23/business/23checkout.html?ex=1340251200&en=9ced6d966c1161e4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss) has breaking news regarding the organic grocer: It seems lines at each of the four [Manhattan Whole Foods](http://www.nypress.com/20/9/informationagent/agent3.cfm) can stretch 50-people long by 7 p.m. on a weeknight, and yet, they miraculously move faster than most lines with only 10 shoppers.

Except it’s not really a miracle, it’s science, remember? By forming one, seemingly infinite line for many cashiers, patrons are generally checked out faster. Understand? No? Here’s how the voice of the nation explains it: “Because people stand in the same line, waiting for a register to become available, there are no ‘slow’ lines, delayed by a coupon-counting customer or languid cashier.”

Apparently, Whole Foods is the envy of all the supermarkets, with its “line managers” and color-coded digital screens to guide weary shoppers. Those who prefer to buy your $5 raspberries at the poor man’s Whole Foods—Trader Joe’s—should expect typical wait times, as their poor-man’s single line system is far less successful with far less cashiers. But at least you'll have the option to stand around gnawing on your fruit leather should you so desire, thanks to that whole [Wild Oats thing].

Still, thank god for Whole Foods, because we all know that New Yorkers will not tolerate long lines under any circumstances (except, of course, for [Shake Shack]).

Photo courtesy of [dyobmit on Flickr]

Make text smaller Make text larger




Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters