Line Etiquette – Learn It!

I’m sure everyone has come across the following scenario in a store: two cash registers, no barrier to divide the line. It’s anarchy! Two possible scenarios unfold:

Fig. 1 – Scenario 1
Fig. 2 – Scenario 2

1. One line is created (see Fig. 1)

2. Two lines are created (see Fig. 2)

Scenario 1 is the best possible solution. People are served in the order that they arrived in line. It’s fair, and there’s no room for error.

Scenario 2 is a mind-fuck. The way I see it (correctly), if two lines are formed, then you pick a line and you stick with it–even if you have to wait longer than people who arrive in the other line later than you. If you were in a grocery store, you couldn’t just hop from your checkout line to the front of another checkout line because you picked the slower line. You suck it up. It’s the big leagues. There’s no crying in baseball. And other sporty sayings.

Since in many small retail stores there is no barrier to divide two separate lines for the registers, it’s up to the customers to create the play. If the first person to get in line decides to choose a side, then the next person needs to either choose the other side, creating scenario 2, or line up behind the first person, creating scenario 1 (and if you see two people lined up in one line, and then create your own new line, you are a moron, and you’re outta here!). If you’re the first person in line and want to force scenario 1 to play out (your best odds of getting served next), then you need to stand in the center and not choose a side. If you choose a side, then the next person in line has the power to decide the play. If two separate lines are formed, that’s it. Sides have been made and you stick with it.

It’s simple.

Recently, I was at La Senza picking up something super sexy (ok. Who am I kidding? It was control-top biker short-like underwear to prevent my thighs from chaffing when walking in a dress) and the two cash registers were occupied. There was one other person in line and she was standing directly across from one register. I had the power. So I lined up across from the other register. I created scenario 2. It’s a bold move. I can potentially get to the end zone faster, but also run the risk of being stuck in place as the other line advances.

As we waited it became obvious that my register was going to be free sooner. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the head of the woman lined up next to me darting back and forth between the registers. She was sighing and fidgeting and knew she had made a mistake. A classic unforced error. Then, I could feel her slowly inching her way closer to me. I’m thinking, “No. There’s no way you’re going to so obviously cheat and cut in front of me.”  Sure enough, as my register became free and I went to step forward, the bitch swooped in and cut me off! Ref, where’s the whistle?! A flag on the field?! And other sporty calls?! I’m pretty sure the slow-motion replay would reveal that she stuck her tongue out at me too. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

The cashier looked at me apologetically and proceeded to help the woman. I stood in shock. The other register was now free and with no one else in line, I crossed over (that’s legal). This cashier, having seen what had just happened, apologized for the wait. Since I’m passive aggressive, I said, loud enough for the washed-up cheater to hear, “That’s fine! I understand how lines work!” Oh snap.

Don’t hate the game, hate the players. Most of them are idiots.



8 thoughts on “Line Etiquette – Learn It!

  1. My name is Chris and I approve of this message.

    Vote The VERY Single Girl in November. You’ll be glad you did. Because we’re both Canadian and get to chuckle at you for voting for a candidate that isn’t legally allowed to run for Presidential office in the United States of Amurrikah. (Unless you were born in the States. Then I retract that previous sentence and everyone should vote for you anyway.)

    1. Thank you and I accept the nomination. I feel a country under my rule could result in a million necessary common courtesy laws under punishment of fake dismemberment (whatever that actually is. Details can be ironed out later) since we both find it hilarious (must be the Canada thing). Thanks for reading and all the commenting!

      1. You are most happily welcome :).

  2. I’m a Line Nazi as well. Usually a mum Line Nazi, but a LN nonetheless. So, here I am at Goodwill with an armful of things. The bag in front of me has a cart full of things. Which is ok, score for her on her bargains. However, she steps in front of her cart to unload, leaving the cart between us and back far enough from the counter that it isn’t even near the counter. So, she’s forcing the entire line back and keeps us from advancing by blocking us w/ her cart. But, she’s unloading, that’s fine…maybe that’s how she unloads. I push the cart in front of me and unload so I can make room for the people behind me and not create a log jam out in the aisle. ANYWHO…she unloads, then steps forward to pay, and leaves the cart. I’m like…B*TCH! Move the cart! There are 20 flipping people in line! Not only does she not move the cart ahead now that she’s done with it…she takes her change and WALKS AWAY. If the cart was a person, it couldn’t have put its items on the counter because she had it so far back in our line. And now who is responsible for this cart? ME, if I want to advance and check out! AW HELL NO!!!!!! I said, “Excuse me, ma’am?” She looks back, confused. I pointed down in front of me, “You forgot your cart.” “Ohh!” she says. She has to walk back to retrieve it…and now there are 40 people behind me. I’ve never seen a more moronic display in a store, ever. And I am the kind of person who is very sensitive to the community of people I tend to see shop at our Goodwill — there is a high ratio of elderly and/or people who appear to be developmentally disabled or delayed. She was neither. Just a selfish BEOTCH.

    Look at the length of my reply…I suspect you now have a kindred line spirit, lol

    1. GOOD FOR YOU for saying something! I probably would have been too chicken and instead, passive aggressively sigh really loud and bang the cart around as I moved it and erratically explain the situation to the cashiers and everyone else around me, even though the moron already left the store. Then, I’d think about it all night and not get any sleep and turn the woman, who has no idea who I am, into my mortal enemy. A good use of time.

      I’m so happy to have a kindred line spirit! I suspect there are many of us out there, and one day, we will change the world.

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