By Rohma Sadaqat
Picture this… a crowded store, large signs screaming the arrival of a highly-anticipated sale, fleet-footed store workers re-stocking shelves and fetching orders, customers with their arms loaded in long lines at the checkout counters.
Amidst all this chaos, a solitary shopper does the unthinkable… they make the decision to cut in line. Now, there are few things that vex me as much as a person who has decided that their time is more precious than anyone else’s in the shop. Not only have they allowed themselves the luxury of (wrongly) assuming that the rules of shopping etiquette don’t apply to them, but they have also set out to ruin another person’s day. Now, I might sound dramatic when I say that last bit, but I am sure that all of us have found ourselves in a situation where someone pulled a stunt that left us with a bad taste in our mouths for the rest of the day.
So, this brings me to my next point: What do you do when someone jumps the queue in front of you? Depending on your mood, there are lots of ways to handle such a situation: You could decide that it is not worth the hassle and ignore them, or you could wait for the cashier to notice the rude act and call them out on it. Or, if you are a person that cringes at the idea of a confrontation, hope that someone in line is braver than you and will take charge. My tactic is to just call them out on their entitled behaviour. Usually, it is quite easy to spot the individual with the intention to cut in line; in these circumstances, you give them a big blinding smile and helpfully point out that the line starts at the back. This nips the problem in the bud, and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief at a confrontation well avoided.
If they manage to cut in line, then a direct approach works quite well. Simply tap the person’s shoulder, give them a big blinding smile, and ask them what emergency has cropped up that they felt the need to cut in front of all the more upstanding citizens. If they manage to make up a somewhat believable emergency on the spot (they usually can’t), then give them a big blinding smile and say that you would have been happy to let them in line… but, the polite thing would have been to ask first. One situation that leaves me tickled pink is when a clerk or cashier races to the rescue like an avenging retail angel. Watching them take charge and call out a person on their shameful action is enough to make me a customer for life at that particular store.
There are exceptions, of course, that lead you to letting a person in line ahead of you. If you see a chap with a single item stuck in a line, where everybody has a cart full of items, then allowing them ahead is a decent thing to do. Similarly, a harried parent with a fussy kid, or a person that is clearly running late (and politely asks to be let in front), all seem like a fair reason to me. If anything, that could be your small feel-good deed of the day.
Rohma’s pet peeve are commuters that barge into the Metro before the passengers inside even have a chance to get off