Identifying Type A Behaviour

To help you identify Type A Behaviour we will describe some typical and extreme examples.

In an attempt to gain control, Type As become ‹“hurry sick'; they adopt two strategies with which to save time to get more and more done in less and less time. Firstly, they practise ‹“speedup'; doing things fast to save time. So they eat fast, walk fast, drive fast and talk fast. Some Type As take ‹“speedup’ to extremes. Type A men have admitted to shaving with two electric razors at once, to save time! On hearing this, a woman reporter admitted to us that she blow-dries her hair with two hairdriers at the same time. But incredible though these actions may seem to Type Bs, and also to many Type As for that matter, they are insignificant when compared to the man who liquidizes all his meals so he can drink them to save time!

Not content with the amount of time saved by ‹“speedup’, Type As turn to ‹“polyphasing’ – doing two or more things at the same time. So they clean their teeth or shave whilst taking a shower or continue writing a document whilst engaged in a telephone conversation on a completely different subject. As they drive to work, Type As shave, apply make-up, eat breakfast or read the morning paper. Extreme Type As regard it as a challenge to see how many different things they can do at the same time. We heard of a businessman in San Francisco who installed a hinged desk-top in his toilet so that he could continue working whilst attending to the call of nature. By now he may well have a fax machine installed in the ‹“smallest room’ and have acquired a head-set telephone to leave his hands free. There may be some sense in his actions because many extreme Type As often ignore the calls of nature until the last minute and frequently suffer from constipation, which then makes them annoyed at the time they waste in the toilet!

Wasting time in queues is something Type As cannot tolerate. They will seek ways in which to beat, jump or avoid queueing at the bank, post office, shops, garage, traffic lights and so on. Take the supermarket situation and an extreme Type A shopper coming up to the checkouts. Whilst nobody would choose to join the longest queue, our extreme Type A shopper will make several decisions before selecting a queue. First, Type As count the number of people in the queue then multiply this by the number of items in each basket and trolley. Many of us may well do this but Type As will go further. They assess the efficiency of the checkout operator before making their choice of which queue to join. A decision is made and the ‹“fastest’ queue joined. Now, instead of simply queuing, Type As take other people as markers in other queues to see if they have made the right choice. Noradrenaline levels start to rise when our Type A realizes that the markers are making better progress – Why do I always choose the wrong queue?‚, our Type A curses. Noradrenaline levels then hit the roof when the person in front of their queue holds them up by paying by credit card or cheque, and sky-high levels are reached when they get to the checkout and the till roll runs out. Our Type A finally leaves the store angry at himself and quick to vent this anger on others. Learning from this situation, Type As have adopted several strategies to beat the supermarket queue. One Type A proudly described how he took six trolleys and put five items in each and went through the express checkout six times!

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