Shopping in the Fast Lane — Really?

It's come to this — now those who walk and purchase at high speeds can leave everybody around them in the dust

by Michele Blood | Updated 07 Dec 2017 at 10:02 AM

Fancy a leisurely stroll and a bit of window-shopping at the mall this Christmas season? Perhaps you’re envisioning a slow amble through the shopping center, hand-in-hand with the one you love. Maybe you plan to sip some hot chocolate or a enjoy a candy cane — stopping every now and then to admire the beautiful holiday displays and decorations.

Hold it right there! Or rather — don't hold it.

Lakeside Shopping Centre, one of the U.K.'s biggest malls, located just outside London, now has a "fast lane." This shopping center in Essex, also known as intu Lakeside, added a bright-orange, 218-yard fast lane to accommodate shoppers who are frustrated by slow walkers. According to Mastercard's Masterpass, which conducted research on the matter, four out of every five London-area shoppers experience so-called slowed rage.

Shoppers aren't the only ones whose efforts are frustrated by the slow-walking menace. Retailers may be hurt by it as well. Research from Masterpass suggests that our turtle-like pace during the holiday season — down 21 percent from the usual 2.85 mph average — ultimately results in a 1.5-item decrease in the number of gifts we're able to purchase in a single shopping trip.

The horror!

The management team says its new fast lane "was designed for shoppers 'who know where they want to go quickly and don't want to get caught up behind leisurely shoppers on this busiest time of the retail year,'" according to The Independent.

Related: Be a Better Parent by Slowing Down

Masterpass identified some of the strategies used by those attempting to assuage their "slowed rage," as summarized in a story by Fox News:

  • skaters: 31 percent try to politely maneuver their way through crowds;
  • dodgers: 51 percent move paths to avoid slow walkers;
  • bulldozers: 11 percent barge on through the crowds in their way; and
  • tutters: 15 percent vocalize their frustrations with slow walkers (e.g., trash talk, yell, text, slow-shame on social media)

Fear not, skaters, dodgers, bulldozers, and tutters. The Autobahn of the mall has you covered.

At intu Lakeside, folks are aiming to proactively combat this slowed rage — and presumably increase gift-buying — by carving out a central corridor for the exclusive use of the more fleet of foot. Those who prefer a nose-to-the-grindstone shopping approach can rush along in this designated zone, unhindered in their quest to secure the perfect gift.

Michele Blood is a freelancer writer based in Flemington, New Jersey. 

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