I would be in Lidl once or twice a week and nearly every time I get to witness the wonder of the big line.
What happens is instead of queuing behind each checkout as you are meant to do, a huge line forms around one till. The line is always in the aisle with the cleaning products, never any other aisle. There is no pattern to the big line, it can happen in the morning, the afternoon, when the store is busy when it is quiet, it could be 2 people, it could be 10.
I have talked to the staff many times about the big line and they are equally mystified. No matter how often they tell people not to do it, they still form the big line.
As far as I can make out the big line started in the early days of the pandemic. Lidl were experimenting with different ways of handling people through the store and I think for a week or two they did try having people queue in one line before abandoning the idea. This was only for a short period of time, yet a year and a half later people are still doing it. Not sure if it’s just my local Lidl, does it happen in yours?
Lidl even put up a sign telling people not to do it, but now they just queue right next to the sign.
Being a man of free will and sound mind I go and queue behind whatever checkout has the shortest queue. This normally leads to me getting heckled by some wee granny ‘Don’t you know there’s a big line, son!’. When I tell people you don’t have to do this, they look at me as if I am mad. Break the line! Are you insane?
The big line can not be broken under any circumstances. It is like in the TV Show Lost, where the guy had to press the button every day lest some malady befalls the island. No good can ever come from breaking the big line.
The big line phenomenon would make a great PhD thesis for someone. It has everything – crowd dynamics, social control, herd behaviour, social norms, mimicry, free will, etc.
Sometimes I think Lidl should do more to tell people not to do the big line, but I think I would miss the big line. It brings an added dimension to my store visits.
Long live the big line. The big line is truth. The big line must be maintained. We can not break the big line. The sky will fall and the seas will boil should the big line ever fall. Everything we know and love depends on the sanctity of the big line. The big line is truth. The big line is life.
I help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not that interested in daily politics, preferring to write about big ideas in society. When not stuck in front of a screen, I am a parkrun Run Director.