Perceived idle wait and associated emotional discomfort: An analysis of retail waiting experience

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Waiting involves both cognition and emotions. It has a bearing on the overall perception of retail service quality. The advancement in retailing has triggered scholarly conversations on the psychological impact of waiting at the retail checkout. Prior studies confirm customers being deeply involved in the passage of time and time estimation during the entire waiting period. This study investigates the customer idle time and its implication on emotional discomfort resulting from crowding stress. The study employed confirmatory sampling wherein specific sample elements are chosen since they are the key respondents to confirm hypotheses being tested. Accordingly, 385 respondents (shoppers) visiting the leading organized retailers located in major localities in Bengaluru were approached. The responses were analyzed using a Chi-squared test and Pearson correlation. The outcome reveals that irrespective of age and gender, customers visiting the offline retail outlets experience emotional discomfort. The young customers aged 18-30 dislike waiting in the queue at the checkout compared to older customers. In contrast, gender did not affect the inclination to wait. The idleness during the checkout waits causes emotional discomfort on most occasions. The findings supplement the growing research in psychology on the actual and perceived consumption of time, focusing on idleness. The study concludes that customers desire to avert an unproductive use of time, thus lowering their emotional discomfort.

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    • Table 1. Sample demographics and queuing behavior
    • Table 2. Mean discomfort at different stages of waiting
    • Table 3. Incidence of emotional discomfort
    • Table 4. Association between demographic variables and emotional discomfort
    • Table 5. Association between demographics and inclination to wait
    • Table 6. Correlation among idle wait durations and discomfort
    • Data curation
      Vinish P
    • Formal Analysis
      Vinish P, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar
    • Methodology
      Vinish P, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar
    • Software
      Vinish P
    • Validation
      Vinish P, Prakash Pinto, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar
    • Visualization
      Vinish P, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar
    • Writing – original draft
      Vinish P, Prakash Pinto, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar
    • Conceptualization
      Prakash Pinto, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar
    • Investigation
      Prakash Pinto
    • Project administration
      Prakash Pinto
    • Supervision
      Prakash Pinto
    • Writing – review & editing
      Prakash Pinto, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar