Tim Harford reports:
Caitlin Knowles Myers…with
her students as research assistants, staked out eight coffee shops in
the Boston area and watched how long it took men and women to be
served. Her conclusion: men get their coffee 20 seconds earlier than
women. (There is also evidence that black people wait longer than white
people, the young wait longer than the old, and the ugly wait longer
than the beautiful. But these effects are statistically not as
This does not seem to reduce to greater complexity of drink for the female customers, read these clarifying remarks from the researcher. One question I have is when the order counts as having started; in my family I am sure that the women spend more time ordering. The simplest explanation, however, is that the staff feel more implicit psychological pressure to meet the needs of the male customers. I’ve also found that indecisive behavior at the counter leads to slower service, I have one particular (male) friend in mind. I am myself virtually always a decisive orderer.
Along not totally unrelated lines, here are new but not surprising results on which waitresses receive the biggest tips.