Wasted waiting time
Nature: There are many occasions on which people have to waste time waiting. The profitability of shops and other services at which the customer or client pays for the service increases the more the average customer is prepared to wait, because this optimizes the utilization of employees. In operation research terms, this is akin to effective 'loading'. In the case of administrative services or public transport, the same is true, except that frequently the individual has no choice but to utilize the available facility because there is no alternative. Persons required to be available during the course of a court case may be required to wait considerable periods: this is a factor in discouraging people to volunteer as witnesses. In some cultures, status is determined by the length of the period of waiting that a person can impose upon any person seeking an interview.
Incidence: Pravda calculates that Soviet citizens waste 37,000 million hours a year standing in line to buy food and other necessities. This figure is dwarfed by those who are imminently expecting the Second Coming.
Claim: The more boring and out-of-date the magazines in the waiting room, the longer you will have to wait for your scheduled appointment.
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update 13.03.1997 – 00:00 CET