A perennial frustration of mine is picking the wrong lane on the highway, or the wrong queue at the shopping centre. You make a choice only to realise, minutes later, that you’re stuck in the slow lane.
I can’t help you out with the highway scenario. It’s a mystery. But I can point you in the right direction for the shops – thanks to this Lifehacker post which links to this little mathematical analysis..
“When you add one person to the line, you’re adding 48 extra seconds to the line length (that’s “tender time” added to “other time”) without even considering the items in her cart. Meanwhile, an extra item only costs you an extra 2.8 seconds. Therefore, you’d rather add 17 more items to the line than one extra person!”
I don’t have to worry about this quite so much now that our local Woolies has a self service lane. I think people are scared of the technology, I haven’t had to queue for it yet.