Those Looong Lines Make Shoppers ... Happy
It gives them camaraderie and validation, say consumer experts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2012 12:33 PM CDT
Greg Packer, 49, celebrates as he enters the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the release of the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Newser) – If you're not one of those to wait in line for department store doors to open on Black Friday or to queue up for a new iPhone, you might be the type to wonder, what is wrong with those people? Nothing, as it turns out. In fact, these consumers are pretty happy about the whole experience, say those who study such things. Or, as MarketWatch puts it, "Time wasted is camaraderie gained."

Waiting in a long line with others gives people a sense of validation—"social proof" in the experts' lingo—that they're doing the right thing. And stores encourage it because of the buzz it creates, which lingers after the lines die down. Even though studies, like this one in the Wall Street Journal, show that line-waiters can usually get better deals at other times of the year, don't expect the trend to go away. "Shopping has become a community event," says an expert at a New York consulting firm.