As the checkout is approached, we notice more than one queue. What to do? Which one should we join?
Normally I would make a rapid calculation using a home-grown formula based on the number of people in the queue, the size of their shopping baskets/trolleys, their ages, whether they have their money and loyalty card at the ready, and the age and chattiness of the person swiping the goods through.
But no matter how much I refine this method over the years, in the end experience shows there is only one universal about queue joining: the other one always moves faster.
However, I have devised a solution.
It’s not easy, and it takes practice and a great deal of empathy. Because at the heart of it, you need to remove yourself from the centre of your universe. You need to become a bit part player, rather than the hero or heroine of your life.
The trick is to look for someone in the other queue, preferably someone slightly agitated, in a bit of a hurry.
Mentally and emotionally lock onto them.
Feel their pain; feel their anxiety; feel their frustration.
Allow the full depth of realisation and understanding to wash over you – for them, the other queue is going to move faster.
And hey presto! Your queue suddenly speeds up.