My brother Lee gave Mark a Nintendo DS for Christmas. Mark had been working for me at the Centre helping with some odd jobs and had amassed some cash to save up for a DS (what a coincidence!). With his DS taken care of and a glut of cash, he wanted to go out an buy Mario Party DS. He has played it on the Wii at Lee’s place and on Christmas Eve, they were up late playing it so I knew what we were doing on Boxing Day.
We went to my top secret parking spot at Midtown Mall and ran into EB Games. There were over 100 people lined up to get into the store. I didn’t even entertain going in there and while Mark was sad, I promised we would check out some other places. Wal-Mart was totally out of PSP games and almost out of Nintendo DS games and of course there was no Mario Party games. We checked out another Wal-Mart and no luck there either. As we were heading over to Lee’s last night, we went by Future Shop and to our shock, they had a copy that I grabbed for Mark.
After looking at DSLR’s and some other cameras (a Fujifilm S2000hd), we got into line. Mike O left a great comment that mentioned the same experience in Fry’s a couple of years ago but with only one long line and multiple tills, the line moved briskly. I don’t know if it is the season or if Future Shop does something right but it was the friendliest line I have ever seen. The mother in front of us had gotten a DS as well from her teenage kids while some university students behind us were buying Guitar Hero World Tour. Within a couple of minutes all of us were talking about technology and our purchases. One of the guys was giving Mark Mario Party DS tips while another guy was rifling through the Coke machine to make sure all of our drinks were cold.
Over the years there have been a lot of studies about how one line and many checkouts is quicker. Of course many places don’t do this because psychologically people think many short lines is quicker. My own experience is that in a longer line like at Future Shop, people are just resigned to waiting for a while and end up making the best of it by chatting with each other. We were in line for only a couple of minutes but in the end all of us were in a lot better mood by the time we got to the tills and while the Future Shop employees were extremely pleasant, it had to make it easier on them when customers are in a good mood.