DO you think you are an effective shopper, capable of fighting the crowds to get quickly from fashionable shoe shop to department store? Think again.
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 - however appealing it might seem, according to the Franco-Swiss study.
The findings imply the need for wider pavements and sophisticated urban planning to enable us to keep moving in crowded shopping streets.