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Good Question: Why Are We Willing To Wait In Line?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sporting events, beer, the latest movie, even a driver’s license — there are many reasons people wait in long, long lines.

On Thursday night, a steamy romance novel – “Fifty Shades of Grey” — topped the list. In the name of a one minute meet-and-greet, some women slept in their cars to meet the creator, E. L. James.

“It was enough where my husband said, ‘Go for it!’” said Sara Coon, who was first in line to see James. “It’s once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Women came from all over the state to attend the meet-and-greet, which was held at an Edina Barnes and Noble. But why do they do it? Why do we wait in lines for so long?

“We’re crazy,” Coon said.

Dr. Brenda Schaeffer, a Minneapolis psychologist, puts it a little differently. She says the herd mentality is to blame. When something is accepted as trendy, she says, we want in.

“The more important it is, the longer they’ll wait,” she said.

She added: “When something is deemed important by your peers, you want to get in on it, and you want to be a part of that importance.”

Schaeffer says unoccupied time passes slower than occupied time. She also said there is a sense of camaraderie that develops as a result of waiting in lines.

It’s not uncommon to take a number while in line. Schaeffer says the reason for this is that wait times are more welcomed than the feeling of not knowing.

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