Modern Patience Thresholds Lower Than Ever Before, Technology To Blame

Hurry Up! Modern Patience Thresholds Lower Than Ever Before, Technology to Blame

by John Anderer September 4, 2019

Survey shows average person grows frustrated after waiting 16 seconds for a webpage to load, 25 seconds for traffic signal to change.

LONDON — Patience is a virtue, but it’s becoming an exceedingly rare quality in modern society. According to a new survey of 2,000 British adults, all of the luxuries of modern life have made most people incredibly impatient — across pretty much every aspect of their lives. Three quarters of those surveyed said they believe the dominance of digital technology, such as smartphones and on-demand TVs, are to blame for this ever growing lack of patience.
Respondents reported becoming frustrated after just 16 seconds of waiting for a web page to load, and after 25 seconds of waiting for a traffic light to change.
Commissioned by stationery supply company BIC, the survey revealed that 38% of respondents had lost their patience while trying to take notes and keep up with a speaker during a class or work meeting.
Often times, all it takes is mere seconds of waiting for people to lose their cool. For example, respondents reported losing their temper after just 20 seconds of waiting for ink to dry on a greeting card. Additionally, it only takes 22 seconds for people to start cursing their computers or TVs if a show or movie doesn’t immediately start streaming correctly. Surveyed Brits also reported losing their cool after just 18 seconds of searching for a pen.
Even a cup of tea, an undeniable symbol of British leisure time, incited anger among respondents if the kettle took more than 28 seconds to boil.
Surprisingly, despite all of that impatience, the survey revealed that most people are still willing to wait a few days for a package or letter in the mail.
“Our research highlighted that we’re happy waiting just 2.8 days for an online grocery order to arrive, and 3.7 for a cherished handwritten bit of mail,” comments Jo Hollins, head of marketing & category management at BIC U.K. and Ireland, in a statement. “Thanks to technology, modern life moves faster than ever but it also seems we’re still willing to wait that little bit longer for a good old-fashioned handwritten letter – an extra day in fact.”
So how about going out for a nice meal or drink? Respondents said any longer than 14 minutes spent waiting for ordered food to arrive at a restaurant would seriously try their patience, and seven minutes or more spent trying to order a drink would be enough to send them searching for a different pub.
Much of this impatience can probably be traced back to the convenience and instant gratification of the internet, so it wasn’t a surprise that respondents said they expect to receive a refund for an online purchase in no less than four days and receive replies to “important” emails within 90 minutes. Furthermore, if a phone takes longer than 11 minutes of charging to turn on, that’s “too long.”
Also, among other findings, the survey revealed that respondents expect to pick up their luggage after a flight within 13 minutes, and expect any and all customer complaints they may file to be answered within two hours and 18 minutes.
Waiting in line seemed to especially annoy respondents, with 45% admitting they had lost their temper after waiting an “excessive” amount of time. But, what exactly is excessive? Respondents said just 30 seconds of waiting in a line would be enough to try their patience, and half said they are likely to switch to a different line if the one they are in isn’t moving fast enough.
Surprisingly, 95% of respondents still admitted that they believe patience is a virtue.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.


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