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Grocery Store Checkout Line Wait Times By City

Washington DC Shoppers Wait the Longest in Grocery Lines

I've been known to shop at odd hours to avoid crowded supermarket aisles and lines — after 9 p.m. is ideal. Shopping at peak times makes the entire experience less efficient, from selecting produce to checking out. The psychology of waiting is full of funny nuances, like the way you feel better after someone arrives behind you — your wait isn't any shorter, but you think at least you're not the last one anymore.


The Mystery Shopping Providers Association asked its forces to measure and report their time in grocery lines, and used the information to calculate average wait times in several US cities. Check out some glaring differences in the chart below and then tell me, how long do you typically wait in line at the supermarket?

City Avg. wait time in minutes
Washington, D.C. 8:23
Philadelphia 7:46
Pittsburgh 5:44
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 5:21
Baltimore 5:02
Chicago 4:43
San Francisco 4:24
Portland 4:13

See more cities and their average wait times when you read more.

City Avg. wait time in minutes
Indianapolis 3:59
Houston 3:48
Cleveland 3:43
New York 3:34
Los Angeles 3:19
Phoenix 3:10
Atlanta 2:21
St. Louis 0:59

Source: Getty
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