Friday, September 10, 2010

The Big Line Versus The Idiot

There is a Walgreens near my office that I pop into once or twice a week for cigarettes or pantyhose, and every time I am there, the following happens:

There are about four or five registers, with maybe three of them open. The registers are stretched out in one long counter across the front of the store.

People start to get in line. One big line is created, and the next person in line goes to the next open register. This is the more efficient way of doing things, rather than creating separate lines behind each register, because inevitably there is always one really slow cashier.

This Walgreens is always really crowded; hence, there is always a big line up of people waiting for the next open register—a big line of people holding onto shopping baskets filled with items, or holding various items from the Walgreen shelves. Waiting in line with a purpose, not just standing around.

Everyone is contently standing in line, and all is at peace in the world…until.

Some idiot – either not seeing or completely ignoring the big line of people waiting to check out – starts a new line behind someone checking out at one of the registers.

Equilibrium is thrown off. Everyone in the big line looks at each other in horror. Someone clears their throat loudly. People start whispering to people they don’t even know. “What is that person doing?” “Who does he think he is?” “Doesn’t he see us standing here?” “Should we say something?”

The idiot stands in their newly created cutters line. The person in front of them finishes checking out, and the idiot steps up to the register. Sometimes a person from the big line will rush in and cut them off at the pass, slamming their shopping basket on the counter. Everyone in the big line silently cheers. Or sometimes a person from the big line will walk over to the idiot, tap him on the shoulder, and say “Line’s back there, buddy.” And the idiot looks sheepish and goes to the back of the line.

At any rate, everyone in the big line is extremely pissed off.

This also happens regularly at the Au Bon Pain I frequent, which has a similar register set up.

I hate these idiot line cutters. I understand being distracted and maybe accidentally cutting in front of someone. I’ve done it before – usually when there is one person standing ten feet away from the nearest register and I didn’t realize they were in line. But even given distraction or not paying attention, the two or three minute wait generally allows for some looking around, and these idiots will look right at the big line and then look away.

What goes through their mind in that moment? “God, lucky I got in this short line?” “Wonder why all those people are standing over there?”

At any rate, one of my biggest pet peeves.

Edited because there is no apostrophe in Walgreens.  Doesn't it seem like there should be?

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