Sunday, March 28, 2010

Excuse me, are you in line?

Having stood in various line-ups for many years I am all too aware of the all the bad behaviour that can occur in line-ups. The most common bad behaviour is the person who lets his friends in line or saves places for large numbers of people. There is of course a special place in hell reserved for the person who stands in line in the grocery store or Costco while his accomplice shops for the two of them.

I have noticed a new form of anti-social queuing (or should I call it non queuing).

I noticed this several years ago at our hospital. We have a kiosk which "proudly" serves Starbucks coffee rather than the week old swill available in the cafeteria. Consequently there are long line ups there all day. One day around 10 am I went to get a coffee. There were about 20 people in a long line that extended well out into the wide corridor. About 3 metres back of the that line, standing in a circle were 6 people who were having a conversation about something. I got into the back of the line, when one of them tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me we're in line". I meekly got in behind their circle. What I should have said was,"Why the hell don't you get in line then, preferably in single file"

Unfortunately this behaviour seems to have become quite widespread, where people seem to think that the proximity or the belief that they are in line, means they are in line. It is getting to the point the when I go to the convenience store, or coffee shop I will encounter somebody standing well behind the queue, sometimes facing the counter, sometimes not, but I know that if I stand at what should be the back of the line, I am going to get the shoulder tap or the glare. Sometimes these people will actually force people who have to stand in line behind them to stand outside or in the doorway. Another variation is the person who stands beside the line; is he in line, is he waiting for somebody in line; is he keeping somebody company. I can't tell.

I am not saying that everybody should be lined up pelvis to buttock. I have my personal space which I try to guard too (at the same time judging by how much I seem to get jostled now there seems to be less respect for personal space). I just wish that people would stand the hell in line. Is that too much?

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