A study of pedestrian behaviour in a busy high street has shown that shoppers are inefficient. Unlike more competent species — such as ducks and geese — which form streamlined groups to increase their velocity, humans trundle along in a way that cuts their average speed between stores by about a fifth.
Our problem is that we fall into U or V-shaped formations so we can chat with our companions, but this slows both our progress and that of people coming the other way. We are clearly more concerned with chattering than arriving at our destination
The idea that shopping is some sort of leisure activity is bizarre and incomprehensible, and when I do venture to town the gaggles on the pavement frustrating my purposeful striding from boot-maker to wine-merchant is enough to make my normal placid bonhomie evaporate.
But now it is official, they are "as geese", but stupider, and deserve to be treated as such. Is there a closed season?