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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Breaking Queues

It’s funny how some people always want to follow the rules and are often the first to break them.

Take littering for instance, some people go at lengths to talk about how people don’t have civic sense. Later they end up throwing a banana peel from their window. Another thing is how we aren’t good in forming queues. During my first trip abroad I was amazed at how people formed a queue without being asked to do so. No rushing, no pushing, no fighting. We talk about standing in queues, but sometimes it just doesn’t work for us.

A few days back, I was at the supermarket doing my weekend shopping. I was the second in line and waiting for my turn when an old lady stood to my left. When the previous person had paid and left the old lady asked the person at the counter to bill her purchase. When the billing lady pointed out that there was a line and it was my turn, she immediately apologized and offered to stand a few places behind me. I realized it was a genuine mistake and since she was old, I asked the person at the counter to bill her purchase first. The old lady said thanks and left.

When my items were getting billed, there was a person standing behind me.  Then came another lady and stood to my left. For her benefit, I told her that the line was to my right. I don’t know why, but she looked offended and said that I was done with the billing anyway, so why should I bother where she stood. I kept quiet, it was none of my business. She then told loudly that she was hurrying off to some place and that she had no time and gave me a weird look. She rhetorically said ‘You don’t mind if I bill next, right?’ to the guy who was next in line. It was evident he did not have a choice, so he said it was fine.

This lady smiled and then kept asking the billing lady to hurry up. The billing lady was polite, gave her a smile and told me the amount I had to pay. I took out my debit card, and then an idea struck me. I kept the card inside and looked at all the Sodexo coupons that had accumulated in my wallet. I avoid using Sodexos during peak hours in the super market, but today I knew I had to. It was full of 20s and 10s. So one by one, I took it out, counted and handed it over. The billing lady had to recount and enter some details (which is always done for these coupons). The lady next to me kept telling her to make it quick, to which the billing lady said,

‘Madam, please wait till I finish the transaction with this customer’.

I turned to the guy who was waiting and apologized for the delay and told him that Sodexos always take more time. He replied that he was also in the habit of using Sodexo coupons and that it was perfectly fine. It was my turn to smile.

Finally I collected my bill and items, thanked the billing lady and left. I could see that the lady, who had not only broken the queue, but also had the nerve to justify herself saying she had no time, fret about having wasted a lot of time.  Had she not been rude with me, I would have very well asked her to get her items billed as I was in no hurry. I smiled to myself at being given an opportunity to irritate her. In my defence I did not do anything wrong.

Why do people still do this? It’s just a matter of a few minutes, some patience and about not being rude to strangers. If the so-called ‘educated’ people behave this way, what kind of an example are they setting for their children? I’m strongly against the generalization that educated people behave well. In my opinion, education had nothing to do with behavior and common sense.

Someone rightly said, common sense is not so common. I couldn’t agree more! 

44 comments:

  1. Ashwini those who give such excuses believe that others are in no hurry they can stand in the queues till those like them are done.
    They do it because we let them--all those standing in the queue should remonstrate against such behavior.
    Good Morning to you.

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    1. True Indu ji. Sometimes when people behave this way, we think twice before offering to help someone who might genuinely be in a hurry. Somehow I can never take it when people try to act 'smart' that way. I try my best to give it back to them.

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  2. After living in Chennai for 6 months, I agree with you 100%. This happened to me last month at the Adyar Ananda Bhavan in Velachery. I was waiting in this line to order a take out food. One guy was ordering the food. I was next. There were 5 people behind me. As soon as the guy ordering the food left the counter, before I go to the counter, one guy who was not in the line, rushed up to the counter to order food. I always give it them back in such situations. I asked the guy “don’t you see people are in line to order food”. He said “I thought you are just standing here casually and not for ordering food”. I said “yeah, we have nothing else to do 9 pm in the night. Therefore, we are just standing in this Adyar Ananda Bhavan for time passing”. He then just left the restaurant.

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    1. The excuses some people give! That guy had the nerve to give such a reply. Good that you gave it back to that guy!

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  3. A little patience always helps and if one is in a hurry then one must plan accordingly:)

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    1. People seem to pray for patience and then also request that it be granted immediately :-)

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  4. Yes, this is so rampant. I do not allow queue breakers to get away. It is best to pull them up and teach them how to follow rules.

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    1. Very true Rachna. If I'd been waiting in the line and if the lady had tried to barge in I would have definitely been more assertive. I always ensure that such people don't get away without someone telling them that they're doing something which is not right.

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  5. Queue breakers! Have you ever been to Tirupathi and stood in line to have a darshan of the Lord? Horrible.

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    1. Some people are civil, but some people just rush as if they'd get special darshan. Pathetic! Totally agree with you.

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  6. nice post. Some pple are naturally impatient. Often i see people honking uselessly on empty roads. You gave that rude lady an appropriate answer by delaying the billing using Sodexo!

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    1. Thanks to the Sodexo coupons, I did what I could :-). Yea the traffic is another scenario, the instant the signal turns green people way behind the stop line keep honking. It's so irritating.

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  7. Good for you. People need to be told strictly to go and stand back in the line, so what if they are in a hurry, they have to wait, for people in front are not jobless.
    In the US, we see people in the hotel reception taking their own time clarifying various issues with the clients, with no urgency in them, now just because we are tired and would like to sign in and get our keys to our rooms, we cannot rush them, we have to have patience and wait for our turn. And even if by chance people tried to barge in, they are well trained to deal with such people. I remember a person in the news channel said that while he was abroad somewhere, P Chidambaram was also in the airport with him, and he tried to cooly jump the line, the security person there immediately put him in his place saying, "this is not your India sir, here everybody has to follow rules". Imagine what a big slap it must have been to his highness. They are not only shameless ,but they bring shame to our country. There the security person has been trained to deal with everyone in the same manner, whereas here they would fall at the feet of the VVIP and beat others up.
    There are big VIPS and small VIPS like the lady you mentioned. Our country would never improve despite the anger that is slowly but steadily building up.

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    1. I agree with what you said Rama. People should be trained to handle such people properly. I appreciate the way the security personnel handled the incident and that's how it should be. It should be a lesson for all 'VIPs' who think they can get away with their 'special' treatment anywhere.

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  8. oh this happens all the time, sometimes I feel as if they think others have all the time in the world.Recently at Staples in USA one person was in a genuine hurry , so the billing person asked me whether he could bill for that person first and when I said ok, he felt so obliged that he gave me a big special discount:)

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    1. That was such a wonderful gesture. The problem here is people misuse that others give them preference when they are in a hurry, to such an extent that we might not be able to help people in dire need.

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  9. In India, for some reason, we seem to believe in being accommodating to a person's perceived emergency. Probably it keeps happening because someone might want to genuinely hurry somewhere! But if people like that lady keep abusing the gesture, this will come to a stop sooner.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Well said. It's only natural that we help others in an emergency. But when people start misusing it, as you said this might soon stop.

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  10. I find in US the counter clerks do not encourage anyone jumping queue,They politely and sternly ask such people to fall in line.I find these days in many places in our country including post offices a token box giving a number and customers are served based on that.

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    1. At least in US (from what I could gather from the comments),people respect the counter clerks and listen to them. But here, people create a scene when they are addressed in a stern way. So much to learn!

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  11. Very good presence of mind Aswini .... Some people are simply unbelievable and unbelievably rude and they would go great lengths to talk about culture ... I must remember to always have some Sodexo coupons in India :)

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    1. Thanks Jayashree :-) Some people are so self-centered that they forget there are so many people with equal, if not more, priorities.

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  12. I lived in England for a very long time and am British - so I can say that queueing is a way of life for us!

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  13. you mean lady..:P hahaha.. Well done Ash..:)
    It happens with me almost every second day while driving back home from work. some people would keep honking even when they know that there is a car up in front of me and I cant squeeze in the distance anymore than I already have. Some manage to even overtake me and make their place in the tiniest gap you'll ever see. As if crossing over one car would save them hours of travelling time. Trust me, some are to stubborn that if they had their way, they would drive over me and take off. What would they loose if they were to be patience just for another minute or so, but as you said, common sense isn't all that common. But what can be done eh..:)

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    1. Haha. Sometimes when you have to be mean for teaching someone a lesson, well you dont have an option :-D

      Some people can be so rash like that, and yeah the saddest part is nothing can be done, except that pleasure in knowing you did teach the other person a lesson.

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  14. Very true, ash!
    In Department stores & other places where there are queues, people have the habit of jumping the queues or bringing up such reasons of having no time etc! After seeing all the drama, trust is at stake & one starts doubting the genuine people!
    I share the same feelings as you.
    Do read my post-
    http://www.anitaexplorer.com/2014/02/patience-please.html

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    1. Yea, you think twice before helping people who might have some genuine reason. Will check out the post :-)

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  15. I agree Sodexo takes a lot of time, but this time it taught a lesson to that lady . You meet these people everywhere . And it surprises when you see educated people behave in this manner. It happens in the railway station queues the most. Sometimes it just gets you on your nerves.

    I bet that lady would remember you everytime sheses a sodexo coupon

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    1. True. Education and patience/common sense does not have any relevance. It's when people think that 'only' their lives and priorities are important when compared to others, do such incidents happen.

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  16. You did the right thing. Some people are like that and they a lesson.

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  17. heheheh!! You wicked girl! Serves her right and I'm glad that the person waiting behind also understood what you were doing and was happy about it!

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    1. Yea, I was worried if that person had to wait for no mistake of his own. Hehe :-D

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  18. oh yes common sense is not common anymore ..

    the one thing that makes me angry instantly is people saying they dont have time.. I mean what sort of answer is that .. Oh i am in a rush .. everyone is in a rush always ..

    you are right and that lady needs to be taught a lesson always for sure

    Bikram's

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    1. True Bikram. I would say that those people dont know how to manage time or they dont know how to plan things properly. We are at fault and we blame it on time. How comfortable!

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  19. Just for fun:
    Only place where Indians maintain a proper queue is toilet. During school days, as a student we are advised to form a queue while going for a toilet. Maybe in future, schools also should have supermarket and hotel to incorporate the queue mindset among Indians. Many people in India while standing in a long queue, that is when they remember that PSLV in sriharikota is waiting for their trigger to get launched.

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    1. Haha. Only you can present an analogy like this :-D

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    2. And you did raise a valid point. If a PSLV is waiting for its turn, people know that it is no harm for them to wait too!

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  20. Some people are like that only! Have experienced this so many times. On one hand they are on the wrong and in the same breath they have the guts to be rude too! Your shopping with sodehxo passes served her right! But would she have learnt something.... Nah!!

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    1. That's the saddest part. You would want people to learn a lesson, but it would be completely lost on them. NOt that they are going to sit and reflect what happened, because hey they are busy!

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  21. Ah!This happens a lot not only in India, even in UK here. I also do understand she as a bit rude to you by the way you wrote. But using Sodexo coupons just to irritate her is just not appreciable as you have said that you were in no hurry and did so to irritate her. You could have ignored her. But what if the lady was actually in a hurry. Somehow, I could not say that it served her right. I agree that people upset us in queues and I have experienced a long queue which repeated two times in a single day when I lost my flight in Dubai. The experience was bad as I saw many people from different culture shouting and calling names at others about their race, bringing-up and sex since they felt offended as those people have crossed the line stating that were in a hurry. I was just an observer seeing how even well-dressed people can change in a moment. Anyway, it was just my opinion of reading the post.

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    1. I understand. What if she really was in a hurry. That way it would have been wrong on my part to have purposely delayed her. But I got annoyed at being treated that way, when all I was trying to do was to tell her where the queue was. I did not like the way she took it for granted that she wouldnt have to wait and that others can wait. So I couldn't take it and decided to react :-)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Uma.

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