That’s the theory anyways. I don’t put much weight into the study, considering they only observed 8 coffee shops.

That’s the conclusion of American economist Caitlin Knowles Myers. She, with her students as research assistants, staked out eight coffee shops (PDF) in the Boston area and watched how long it took men and women to be served. Her conclusion: Men get their coffee 20 seconds earlier than do women. (There is also evidence that blacks wait longer than whites, the young wait longer than the old, and the ugly wait longer than the beautiful. But these effects are statistically not as persuasive.)

Link to the study:

Arizona Coffee

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  1. 20 sec slower? Why is I think this survey was conducted with a predetermined conclusion in mind.

  2. Gee, this relationship seems a bit correlational. I get my drip coffee about two minutes before my wife gets her latte. She must be a victim of discrimination at her own coffeehouse! Imagine that.

  3. Brandon

    Maybe they were actually discriminating against the men and giving them old espresso shots??

  4. You could read it completely opposite. That the employees want to put more effort into making a drink well. I think this is a joke of a study.

  5. Tom

    I did think at first that there may be a greater tendency for men to order something more similar to ‘just coffee’, especially in front of their other male friends, and women might tend to order things which are more fancy. Traditional gender role habits (and embarrassments) do die hard.

    But then I found out that the wait remained for the comparison of fancy drink orders. With that in mind, my mind is open to the possibility.

    Still, there is that only 8 shops thing, and in a single city area, the Boston area (I don’t have the slightest idea whether Boston would differ from another city but anything is possible I suppose). A large scale study, perhaps watching statistics for each individual drink (after all, fancy drink A may not take as long to make by nature as fancy drink B) might be more meaningful and come to different conclusions. Whoever does that may also want to explore the numbers with how many males and how many females are doing the serving. If the results of that kind of study were unexpected, it might open our minds to the idea that this might be a very nuanced affair.

    In any case, the shops would do well to treat their customers who are women well. They are some 52% of the population after all. In the end a customer, female or male, black, white, or purple with little green dots, usually knows intuitively when the respect just isn’t there.

    OK, I’ll stop blabbering.

  6. I also think that it should be taken into account that the percentage of time isn’t that high. It is talking about how long it takes to make the drink and receive it. Not about how long they have to wait for their order to be taken. Those are very different numbers, and while the data says one thing, I am curious if they were taking the median numbers and shaving off the long instances.

    Personal assistants come in all the time to ours and order like 8 drinks which can significantly skew a number like that when you are only talking about 200 people total.

  7. I’m a little perturbed by this study. I read through their methodology, and all of the customers ordering “quick” drinks (eg. drip coffee, tea, juice, etc.) were disregarded, and only those people ordering specialty drinks were timed. It would seem to me that this would be a powerful control to weigh when considering the outcome of this study (i.e. was there a 20 second bias in these interactions as well).

    This was a poorly executed study, and is offensive to our industry.

  8. I didn’t read the study in great detail, but my first thoughts were that they didn’t mention who was doing the serving; males or females.

    Any male knows that immediate attention is required to avoid the wrath of scorned women, and women don’t care about other scorned women…… maybe I better get back to my cappu.