I was in a local grocery store the other day and watched as a man had a meltdown while waiting in an express lane line.
An old woman had forgotten or couldn’t find raisins. She asked the cashier about the raisins and he called for a store employee standing nearby to go fetch the raisins.
As soon as the employee went off in search of raisins, the man, who was next in line, began to have a meltdown.
“Should I go to another lane?” he shouted at the cashier. “I don’t have all day!”
The cashier, who is so efficient I always get in his line, assured the man having the meltdown that the raisins would be found quickly and that it would not hold him up.
But this did not satisfy Mr. Meltdown. The man looked at his wristwatch, paced around, and let out a few loud sighs.
The only thing that would have been worse is if he would have turned to me and asked, “Can you believe what they are doing to us?”
I get it, no one likes to wait, but more time was spent answering the meltdown man’s question than was devoted to the search for raisins.
This meltdown probably would have been forgotten by me, but it happened only days before another incident and the two together got me to wondering if we as a society have forgotten the effect our bad behavior has on others.
After meltdown man, I encountered a blatant breach of etiquette at my favorite local discount store.
I was in Belmont’s at the time, but checkout line etiquette shouldn’t be limited to upscale local stores such as .
Anyway, I was standing in a line with over a dozen other people. There was only one line open and everyone was well behaved and waiting as the cashier (who I’ll admit has a ways to go before being declared efficient) handled customers as fast as she could.
Seeing a growing line, the store’s employees opened another line. And this is when I learned that some people either don’t know the rules or don’t care about them.
Because the moment this second lane was opened, a woman, who had to be 3-4 customers behind me, sprinted toward the newly opened lane.
“They’re opening a new lane,” she said as she stomped toward the lane with the same speed and excitement you usually see on The Price is Right when a contestant has been called to come on down.
No one moved as we all stared at this woman running to be the first person in line. I think everyone was probably thinking what I was thinking – “I hope that woman falls flat on her face.”
Then again, they could have been thinking that the woman had violated checkout line protocol.
In an ideal world the cashier opening a new lane would have come over and asked someone to be her first customer. But in the absence of this, I was under the impression that we all believed that the people at the head of a line are entitled to get checked out first because they have waited the longest.
I always thought that people realize that in a civilized society we always think about the effect our actions have on others.
Obviously, I was wrong.