The New York Times:
Waiting in line got a bad rap as an ever-present part of the Communist Soviet Union. It could turn out to be a big part of America’s urban future, because some lines are actually useful.
To better understand this, consider a contrast between locations. Although I live in Northern Virginia, I visit Manhattan frequently, and I notice how often I end up waiting in line. It’s not just for special events. I wait in line to get into the movies, for a jazz concert at the Village Vanguard or to grab a bite at a Midtown Shake Shack.
In less dense Northern Virginia, venues are built larger, sellouts are uncommon, the flow of customers is handled more readily, and more people are at home either watching television or taking care of their children. You stroll right in and hand over your money, usually with no delay. I found this to be even more the case during a recent visit to Oklahoma.
Waiting a bit can also make people more patient, by removing their attention from the immediate here and now and stretching out their time horizons. Some of these positive effects of waiting have been studied by Professors Xianchi Dai of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ayelet Fishbach of the University of Chicago in their paper “When Waiting to Choose Increases Patience.”
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