Purpose – in retail settings, customer satisfaction is generally associated with a global evaluation of the store, i.e. The store image. Waiting for service is not part of the store image dimensions, but it does play an increasingly important role in the retail experience where waits are often inevitable. The present study seeeks to investigate how waiting for service at the checkout counter influences overall satisfaction, along with the store image.design/methodology/approach – the study combines services marketing and waiting literature. Data were collected in various supermarkets in the netherlands. A partial least squares regression technique is used to analyze the data.findings – the paper demonstrates an important and complementary role of the behavioural construct “negative response to the wait” in explaining overall customer satisfaction in a retail environment. The effect of customers' negative emotional response to the wait on satisfaction is partially mediated by store image, and explained variance in the dependent variable increases by 24 percent when the effect of the wait at the checkout is included.research limitations/implications – measuring customer satisfaction without taking into account the effects of various waits during the retail experience will produce incomplete results.practical implications – moreover, a range of controllable factors influences the customer's wait. Intelligently managing these factors can mitigate negative effects on customer satisfaction, or even increase the overall evaluation of the service. Specific recommendations for service managers and a research agenda are provided.originality/value – the study combines service marketing and waiting literature to address the issue of waiting in line and tests the theory with real-world data from a field study.