Open Thread

by epi on January 18, 2012

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate321 January 18, 2012 at 3:30 am

Recently, I was standing in line at a cafe, and a lady came up after me and formed her own line, aside from where everybody else was. When it was my turn, I came up to the cashier and ordered, then stepped away. However, I couldn’t help but overhear the lady ask to see the manager in a frustrated tone. The manager came out, and I heard her say that somebody had cut her in line, and she thought it was the cashier’s fault for not correcting the situation. I knew she was addressing me, but she wasn’t even in line. What should I have done? Should I have apologized to her or the cashier?

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Elizabeth January 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

You didn’t do anything wrong.

What you *could* have done depends on whether you thought the woman was intentionally being rude and started her own line knowing the rest of you were there, or whether you had the sense she was just being clueless. To the clueless woman, you could have easily said “Excuse me, this line is feeding both registers.” Or, when you walked passed her to the register, “A single line has already formed, m’am.” That would have made it clear that you were not “cutting” in front of her, but that you were simply taking your turn fairly.

If she was served after you, does it then serve to reason that she cut in front of the person behind you? I wonder if they had anything to say about it?

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Jody January 18, 2012 at 9:49 am

Kate, I think you did nothing wrong. Since you weren’t addressed directly, and the other person didn’t point you out, the best thing was probably to remain silent as you did. However, if the manager had reprimanded the cashier within your earshot, it would have been polite to speak up and say “excuse me, but this other customer was not in line at any point and the cashier did nothing wrong.”

I’ve been in situations where there’s a clear line, but another customer steps up in front of me. I politely but firmly tell the other customer “excuse me, but I was here first; the line is [and gesture towards the line].” That usually works.

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