Being stuck behind crowds of dawdlers when you’re in a hurry is one of the most annoying First World Problems there is.
But now, a U.K. shopping center has launched a new strategy to help impatient shoppers avoid slow walkers — and the rage that goes with them.
The Lakeside Center in Essex, on the outskirts of London, has introduced a 720-foot “fast lane” reserved for fast walkers only, just in time for the Christmas rush.
The center is one of the largest in the UK, according to The Independent.
The center’s management team said the lane would help 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.”
The fast lane was launched after a Mastercard survey found that 80 percent of consumers found slow walkers to be their biggest annoyance while shopping.
The research also found that the average walking speed slowed down by 21 percent during the Christmas shopping period, as most shoppers spent more time window shopping and browsing during this period.
Queensland University of Technology retail expert Gary Mortimer said he wasn’t surprised by the hype surrounding the launch of the fast lane and thought the concept would appeal to shoppers the world over.
“Crowded parking lots and busy shopping centers tend to be two of the biggest gripes of shoppers over the festive season,” he said. “I think the fast lanes are a novel approach, however, I suspect it will be a bit like fast lanes on a highway, so it might end up being more trouble than it’s worth.”
“I think it’s a great idea. Certainly, it’s a frustration for many shoppers trying to get through a mall from one retailer to the next without bumping into people.”
“The idea is great and I think most shoppers in the U.K. will accept it and comply with it. However, how you police it, I don’t know.”
The Mastercard survey also identified the four most common types of shoppers.
They include “Skaters,” the 31 percent of shoppers who try and maneuver their way through crowds politely; “Dodgers,” the 51 percent of customers who move paths to avoid slow walkers; “Bulldozers”, the 11 percent who barge through crowds; and “Tutters”, the 15 percent who vocalize their frustrations with slow walkers.