237: How long is five minutes?

Exactly how long is a five minute wait, really?

  • 60 minutes: Five minutes of unattended, ill-considered waiting time feels like forever. It sets the tone of the experience: “This is going to suck.”
  • 5 minutes: When an experience exactly matches ones expectations, we get a different tone: “satisfactory.” But who wants “satisfactory”?
  • Mere seconds: A restaurant that has a bar instead of a waiting area has no perceived wait time. It sets a whole new tone for the experience.

It’s easy to succeed when expectations were exceeded at the start. But very hard to even meet them when starting from frustration.

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