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So, I work at a library and one of my responsibilities is to man a self-service print desk (filling paper, answering questions, clearing jams, etc.). Now, I've noticed some interesting behaviors manifest themselves. We have two printers that are exactly alike. When someone has released a print job and is standing there waiting for it to finish it seems that people are more likely to stand in line rather than walk two yards to the other printer. Is there any reasoning behind this? I'd be interested to read research dealing with a similar question. Thanks!

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Your title suggests that you might be interested in individual preferences/differences in who chooses which printer, but the rest of the question made me think of research into "queue joining". There are some classic social psychology papers on this subject. For example, this paper confirmed that people are more likely to join the (wrong) queue if there are more people waiting, presumably because they conform and assume that other people know something that they don't. There is also interesting related research in an applied setting about the balance between preferring a restaurant because it is busy (therefore must be good) and preferring one because it is less busy (therefore you might get served quicker). I'm sure there is recent research along these lines too.

So maybe people stand in line because at least they can be sure that that printer is working!

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