Very often, norms and customs arise for good reason. They tend to provide an efficient solution to a problem. Waiting on line (as we New Yorkers say…an interesting topic in its own right) provides order in an otherwise chaotic situation. But there are some instances where customs are downright inefficient and we get stuck in a less than optimal equilibrium.
While queuing up may be efficient, waiting on separate lines for separate registers (or separate anything, for that matter) is definitely not. A slow cashier (THINK: Target Lady) or another customer with a larger number of items may hold up customers. It is clearly better for customers—overall—to have one line that feeds into every register so all customers are treated as equally as possible and not slowed down by a particularly sluggish line. This is definitely the exception rather than the rule in the US.
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