It can be one of the most frustrating things in life – waiting in line at the supermarket.
But new research shows that a few simple 'life hacks' can make the process much quicker and pain-free than you may think.
Choosing to be served by female cashiers, standing in queues that feed into several tills and spying on other shoppers' grocery shop are just some of the ways to avoid the dreaded queues.
And opting for checkouts on the left or queuing behind shoppers with a trolley could also help cut down the amount of time waiting in line.
The 'life hacks' have emerged after researchers found that the average Briton spends between one and six months of their life standing in line at the shops.
Desmos, a US organisation that promotes maths, technology and data, has spent months analysing supermarket data and has revealed the best ways to beat the queues.
Dan Meyer, a former maths teacher turned chief academic officer at Desmos, said it takes a baseline of 41 seconds for each customer to pass through a till, with an additional three seconds added on per item they are purchasing.
'Every person requires a fixed amount of time to say hello, pay, say goodbye and clear out of the lane,' he told the New York Times.
He said the data showed that standing in line with numerous customers who are buying fewer items – such as basket shoppers at the '10 items or less' checkout – can be a bad choice. Instead, he says it actually works out quicker to stand behind one person with a trolley full of items, as the face-to-face interaction time is quicker than having to wait for the cashier to greet numerous shoppers.
Meanwhile, Robert Samuel, founder of the New York-based Same Ole Line Dudes – a service that stands in line on behalf of customers - said most people are right-handed and therefore tend to queue on the right-hand side. He advises customers to queue on the left, and said he opts for female cashiers.
同时，纽约Same Ole Line Dudes公司（一家专门代客排队的服务机构）创始人罗伯特•塞缪尔称大多数人是右撇子，故多倾向于站在右边队伍排队。他建议顾客站在左边，还说他会选择女性收银员。
'This may seem sexist, but I prefer female cashiers. In my experience they seem to be the most expedient at register transactions and processing,' he told the newspaper.
His other advice includes always facing bar codes toward the cashier, removing the hangers of clothes before they are scanned and splitting the items between yourself and a friend to get through the tills quicker.
Around three-quarters said seeing staff not serving customers when there was clearly a long queue was their top gripe.
This was followed by shoppers who skip the queue (72 percent), queues without a clear system (66 percent), people who slow a queue down (46 percent) and staff not apologizing for a long queue.
yaning and 张金瑶 from language.chinadaily.com.cn