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Almost a third of UK shoppers have lost their temper queueing - and many more have witnessed aggression while waiting in line, research has revealed.

The study by queue management experts Qm Group has found that - far from being therapeutic a trip to the shops is driving many of us up the wall.

The research which was conducted by Aspect Market Research for Qm Group and took place in 5 major cities throughout the UK, found that as many as 65 per cent of shoppers quizzed have suffered ‘queue rage’ - an increasing problem on the high street which retailers are failing to address.

Around 34 per cent of the sample questioned admitted to losing their temper and shouting abuse in a queue, while 69 per cent said they have witnessed an abusive act of queue rage.

The Northern / Southern Divide
Londoners topped the bill as the most aggressive queuers with 72 per cent witnessing queue rage compared to only 55 per cent in Yorkshire.

Male versus Female
The most likely candidates to lose it in a queue are female Londoners - 40 per cent, and the least likely males from Yorkshire -25 per cent.

The findings are revealed in the light of National Stress Awareness Day - which campaigns to highlight the damage high tension and stress can cause.

Qm Group has joined forces with Ros Coleman, a member and former Vice Chair of the International Stress Management Association (UK), founders of National Stress Awareness Day. She said: “These shocking statistics are clearly a sign of the times and demonstrate we are living in a highly pressured society. With this long hours culture, people have less and less time to relax and enjoy themselves and this may be resulting in irritations surfacing as this valuable time is being wasted.

“The Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE’s own research reveals that one in five workers in the UK report feeling either very or extremely stressed by their work (c. 5 million workers). For people under this or any other type of pressure that can cause stress, queuing can be a static situation, which provides little or no sense of control. So for those reaching their limits of tolerance, tempers are more likely to flare. Together with the results of this research, these aspects create a volatile mix.”

The in-depth research project also revealed that whilst 32 per cent of shoppers are prepared to wait for up to 5 minutes for something that they really want, 82 per cent think this is far too long.

The Nation’s Top 3 Queueing Irritants
When asked what irritated shoppers the most about queuing 68 per cent said slow, chatting till staff, closely followed by 67 per cent who cited queue jumpers as a top angst inducer. 49 per cent of shoppers said busy stores with closed tills served as a major annoyance.

Qm Marketing Manager Mike Caddy said: “ This research has highlighted that retailers should be paying more attention to valuing customers’ time; when people are parting with their hard-earned cash they naturally expect a high standard of service. By implementing an effective, ordered queuing system, service levels can be instantly raised, lowering stress levels and encouraging customers to make return visits to the store. We call this a ‘ensuring positive leaving experience’ as queueing often happens as the last thing a shopper does before leaving.”

4th October 2004

Editors Notes:
*A total of 400 people were interviewed in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, London and Southampton by Aspect Market Research.

*Additional statistics are available and an interview may be arranged with Qm Group. Please contact:

Caroline Barnes / Jim Rothnie
Powell Communications
Tel: 0161 834 9836

About Qm Group

The Qm Group was founded in 1989 by Martin Christie and Terry Green. The group was founded around the invention of the worlds' first audio based call forward queuing system (think Post Office cashier number 3 please). The Qm Group then helped set the global standard in audio based queue management and has always stayed true to its roots in Invention and Innovation.

Today, the company still has full time inventors, a model making shop and prototype development and does not buy and re-badge. Qm Group create, invent, manufacture, install and maintain systems. To date, Qm Group has more than 4500 call-forward systems and 40,000 barriers in the market place that help more than 28 million people enjoy the waiting experience every month. The company employs more than 60 people and in the past twelve months has experienced nearly 40% growth. Qm Group’s clients include Argos. Boots The Chemist, Woolworth’s, Matalan, Tesco, Orange, HBOS and Post Office Limited

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