Should You Scold a Line-Cutter?

You’ve been waiting in a long check-out line when a new one opens up. The person behind you jumps in it―ahead of you. Amy Krohn Hoskins of Littleton, Colorado asks: What can you say to him? Real Simple’s Modern Manners columnist answers.

Photo by Emily Wilson
Sadly, many people wouldn’t even consider that to be jumping in front of you. They would consider it being fast on their feet. Regardless, remember it’s always a gamble to ditch one line for another, especially if you’re not the first to get there. You never know what kind of coupon-clipping, exact-change-counting person you might wind up behind. (And, yes, that would be me holding up the line counting pennies.)

So you can comfort yourself knowing that your rude line-jumper might get his just reward and wind up waiting even longer than you do. Beyond that, my advice is to shake it off and tell yourself, “He’s in more of a hurry than I am.” Then just let him go. It might not get you home faster, but I’m guessing with that attitude, you’ll live a longer, happier life. And if you’re looking to make some small cosmic change in the universe, I say the next time you’re in line and consider jumping to another register that has opened up, offer the person in front of you the chance to switch first. Radical, but I would like to think that leading by example actually works.

Read more of Julie’s advice about etiquette conundrums.