Seven Minutes is a Lifetime

How long is seven minutes? Without any context, it’s hard to say. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t sound very long. But if you are waiting for something, it can be a very long time.

A friend recently told me about an actor acquaintance of theirs who was left hugely frustrated waiting in a supermarket checkout queue.

They were getting so annoyed with the wait time that they decided to time it. It was seven minutes.

They decided to take action with the supermarket company, and rang and talked their way through a number of gatekeepers until they got to a senior manager in the organisation.

They outlined their upset and then demanded the manager gain an experience of a seven minute wait.

The actor said ” I am holding my hand in the air, and when it comes down seven minutes will be up, then youu can experience what it is like to wait that long.”

As an actor by trade, the man had plenty of chutzpah to pull the experiment off. The manager started to protest, and the caller said ” No, no, we are starting again, you can’t speak. You need to experience the seven minutes from the top I’m raising my hand and we are starting now.”

The manager lasted about 3 and a half minutes and started to get angry and frustrated and hung up.

What a great way to illustrate when customer service goes bad.

This reminds me of working with organisations which try to justify a position and prove to a complainant or stakeholders that their experience is not all that bad, in comparison to other things.

There is nothing more infuriating than being told your experience is not valid.

To some, seven minutes is a long time, a life time. Waiting in a queue, it can be far too long, especially in a supermarket.

The manager concerned was shown a first hand experienc of waiting for several minutes doing absolutely nothing but wait.

I’d love to know whether the experience sang in, and how they will consider customer service and wait times in the future.