The Deceitful Effect Of Queue [The bandwagon effect & social proof]

Let me tell you a story based on my own experience. Couple months ago, we (me and my family) went to a shopping mall in central Jakarta to go sightseeing. After we shopped and wandered around the mall for a while, we started to feel hungry. So we went to the food hall to eat.

After saw some of the potential restaurants, there was one restaurant that interests me the most (For the sake of the restaurant that I want to share my experience with, I will not say the name of restaurant or either the mall. For this case I will only use the initial which is “O”)

I was interested eating in “O” because there is about ±50 person waiting in the line. Some of them are seated, stand, or even use some random seatable platform to become a chair, such as the base of a statue, the curve in the railing, etc. So we assumed that this restaurant is worthy to eat because people want to queue for a long time just for a dinner.

So we decided to queue for “O”. After about an hour of waiting, doubts and temptation start to comes. We start to look for another restaurant because we are starving and we think there is still a long way to go until it’s our turn to seat and go inside. But I guess sunk cost fallacy wins again. Because we already invested an hour, we just can’t abandon it. So after patiently waiting for another 1,5 hours, it’s finally our turn to go inside.  

For your information, the accumulation of our queuing time is about 2,5 hours, that amount of time is equal with London to Madrid flights. So if there is a person take off from London the same time We start to queuing, assuming the flight executed smoothly (without unexpected delay), the person who in the flight will land in Madrid first (2 hours and 25 minutes) than the time we went inside the restaurant.

After it’s our turn to sit down, we ordered food. We ordered the main and the most favorite dishes. Because we want to fully experience the restaurant that we have been queuing for the past 2,5 hours. After wait for surprisingly a brief time, our foods arrived. We are excited to taste our food. But unfortunately, the food taste was mediocre, it was not too bad but far from the word good either. But because of the 2,5 hours we have been investing, We are very disappointed with the outcome.

Not only the taste is only okay, the price is also very expensive. After some calculation, we found out that the price for a person to experience a very disappointing food is about $15/person. So we walked out with a very disappointing experience from the restaurant that we have a very high expectation on. 

In that story that I just share with you, we are influenced by 2 type of biases which called The bandwagon effect and social proof. The bandwagon effect is affected our probability to believe in something judging by how many people believed in it. Because many people come to “O” to have their dinner, the probability of us choosing “O” as our dinner will be much than the probability of us choosing another non-crowded restaurant.

Social proof happens when we justify that an activity is right to do because others do it too. Because of that, we will follow that activity. Social proof also could happen with information, perception, etc. Because others choose “O” rather than other possible options in the food hall, we justify that eating in “O” is the right decision.

Do you ever experience something similar? What’s your opinion about this? Tell us in the comment box below!


Bandwagon effect. (2017, September 03). Retrieved September 05, 2017, from

Social proof. (2017, August 19). Retrieved September 05, 2017, from

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