The iPhone 5 goes on sale this Friday but that hasn’t stopped people from lining up this weekend, five days out from launch.We wanted to figure out how standing in line for over 100 hours can affect your mind. We found an article from David Maister, a former Harvard Business School professor who writes about business management practices.
In “The Psychology of Waiting Lines,” Maister lays out the following:
- Unoccupied time seems to pass more slowly than occupied time. The premise here is simple – when you’re engaged in an activity, time passes more quickly. If you’re waiting in an unmoving line for several days, time will drag.
- People have a psychological need to “get started.” Maister provides the example of a waiter handing you a drink menu when you first arrive in a restaurant. Even though your meal won’t arrive for a while, you feel at ease about it because service has started. This is hardly the case when waiting in a line.
- Anxiety makes waits seem longer. If you’re amped about getting your iPhone, you’re experiencing a form of stress about the future. This only piles on to make time appear to pass less quickly.
Maister writes that people are willing to wait in longer lines for more valuable services. The presumption here is that, with a current wait time of four days, the iPhone will prove quite valuable.
The only advantage that those braving the iPhone 5 line seem to have is that known wait times are better than unknown wait times. A definite launch date has been announced, so that’s one element to help accurately gauge the passage of time. Despite how far away it feels, you can calculate the remaining wait time in hours and minutes.
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