Image by Marie Vonow
When I saw the word 'agmenophobia' in a magazine I was intrigued. Fortunately, a definition was provided so I didn't have to handle the frustration of discovering it is not listed in my dictionary. There is information about agmenophobia on the internet.
is the fear you will choose the queue that is slower than the other one. A related fear is macrophobia
, the fear of long waits.
I think we have all been faced with uncertainly when having to choose a queue at the post office, supermarket, department store or a food outlet at lunch time. Sometimes there are more than two queues which makes it a trickier decision.
Some places get customers to form one line and the next available checkout assistant serves the next in line. Sometimes you take a numbered ticket. This seems the fairest solution to me. I think it should also help anyone who is a true sufferer of agmenophobia.
In other places you just have to make a decision and hope for the best. When I am purchasing items I look at the number of items those already waiting have, as well as the number of people in each line. Then I get into my chosen queue and cross my fingers.
As with other situations in life, one doesn't know what will happen next. Sometimes I have made a carefully thought out decision and then, drat, there is an unexpected hiccup. An item won't scan and the checkout assistant has to summon help, which may take a while.
There can be problems with giving change or the EFTPOS won't work. Perhaps the customer has a gift card and there is a hitch with it. All sorts of things can happen. Then I am faced with the choice of staying put or swapping lanes.
These days I usually am not too pushed for time. Having to wait doesn't mean I will be late for work or be the last person back after lunch. I am in a position where I can use my waiting time to take notice of things around me, the things I wouldn't have observed had I been served straight away. I might notice -
long words on magazine covers or signs in the shop. I like to think of smaller words I can make using some of the letters.
a short word and then think of another word that rhymes with it
the colours of the clothes people are wearing. Sometimes there is a predominance of black and other times more people have chosen colour.
the items in the shopping trolleys of other customers if I am in a supermarket. Ah, the person in front of me has a dog. It appears that customer has children. There is someone who enjoys cooking and chooses unusual ingredients.
the icecream fridge near me. Oh no, I wouldn't have needed to fight temptation if I hadn't got stuck in a queue.
I usually have a notebook with me so I might have time to jot down a few ideas or observations for articles. I might make a list of things I need to do or items to buy.
Sometimes I get talking to someone else in the queue and this helps pass the time. It is good if the other person has a sense of humour.
If you dislike waiting in a queue or have a phobia about it, what can you do?
See if you can do whatever online. Shopping can frequently be done on the internet these days. Claims can often be done online once you have set up an account. Many bills can be paid online or you can set up a direct debit arrangement.
This won't help you if you suffer from cyberphobia (fear of computers) or if you don't have access to the internet.
You may be able to attend to your business over the phone. However, this can result in an even longer wait than standing in a queue so isn't always a good alternative.
Try to pick the time when waiting is less likely. Generally this means avoiding lunch time. Different places find customers are more likely to have a long wait at certain times or on particular days. Phone the business to ask the best time to come in.
Perhaps you can go to a post office or wherever which is known to be less busy.
Avoid doing anything involving a queue in the week before Christmas. Everywhere is busy.
Sometimes you will get stuck in a queue. No matter how careful you are, there will be times when you choose the slower queue. Keep your cool and be pleasant to the customer assistant when it is your turn to be served.
If you have a major problem with queues, whether that be because of agmenophobia, macrophobia or you suffer a fear of crowds (enochlophobia or demophobia) your doctor should be able to refer you to a therapist who can help.