Why the closer parking spot actually costs you time

Here’s a quick experiment I ran, and it proves why deliberately going the long way can actually be more efficient:

You’ve seen people jockeying for position in a parking lot, bypassing open spots to get marginally closer to the door. So I thought to myself, “Does it actually take more time to wait for a ‘better’ spot?”

Short answer – yes.

I ran the experiment with similar conditions (Saturdays) at three different locations (Costco, grocery store, and the mall) using two different options:

1.) Meander the lot and get the the closest spot possible

2.) Take a spot further from the door with no waiting

Every single time, taking the spot further from the door got me inside the building more quickly. Keep in mind, this is only on the way in. Additionally, I also was out of the parking lot more quickly as well.

This provides a great metaphor for business as well – sometimes perceived efficiencies just aren’t worth it. Trust me, I’m more guilty of this than anyone. If there’s ever been a person who’s created systems unnecessarily, it’s this guy. Sometimes, it’s just better to take the long way. Do you agree? Where have you taken the path less traveled and found it beneficial?

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