How to Pick the Fastest Line at the Supermarket | New York Times [Debunk]

“[…] Choose a single line that leads to several cashiers

Not all lines are structured this way, but research has largely shown that this approach, known as a serpentine line, is the fastest. The person at the head of the line goes to the first available window in a system often seen at airports or banks. […]”

Sourced through the New York Times

No! Research shows no such thing. The serpentine line does not reduce the customers’ mean time through the system. Little’s Law tells us that, in steady state, regardless of how the queue is organized:

${Mean\, time\, in\, system = \frac{Mean\, number\, of\, customers\, in \, system}{Mean\, service\, rate}}$