More and more gas stations have television displays that play commercials and T.V. shows as you pump gas. While the primary motivation for these firms is to increase brand awareness through commercialization and penetration, this entertain-while-you-wait is also a manifestation of Queueing Psychology.
There are a few key behavioral responses or reactions to queues, or waiting. Below are the propositions for the Psychology of Queueing:
- Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
- Process-waits feel longer than in-process waits.
- Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
- Uncertain waits seem longer than known, finite waits.
- Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits.
- The more valuable the service, the longer the customer is willing to wait.
- Solo waits feel longer than group waits.
The gas pump process inevitably requires that we wait. In many ways, this is a very smart move by both the gas companies and also the companies that provide the entertainment service. A few questions:
- The television play doesn’t begin until the gas begins to pump. I wonder how long the average time to pump gas?
- From the brand awareness and penetration side, the average time to pump gas is an important input. It gives the entertainment companies an idea of how long and how shocking or interesting the commercials or entertainment vehicles need to be.
Whether or not this approach will actually yield revenue for anybody, it’s an interesting manifestation of Queueing Psychology.
Below is a picture of two guys watching a show while waiting for their gas to stop pumping:
Below is a photo of a lady multi-tasking: she’s watching a show while she is about to pump gas: