Chatting with the Cashier Will Improve Your Mood

If you buy your coffee quickly at Starbucks without saying much of anything, you’ll probably arrive at the office sooner, but if you stop to chat with the cashier, you might get to work in a better mood. Research participants who smiled, made eye contact, and briefly conversed with the cashier subsequently reported greater satisfaction with the visit and were in better moods (4.31 versus 3.80 and 4.22 versus 3.60, respectively, on 1-to-5 scales) than those who avoided unnecessary conversation, say Gillian M. Sandstrom and Elizabeth W. Dunn of the University of British Columbia. Seemingly trivial interactions can confer a sense of belonging, an effect that people tend to overlook in their quest for efficiency, the researchers say.

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