Waiting Game

elephant_lineupAfter tying double knots in our shoelaces and crying to get what we want, the art of lining up is one of the first lessons we learn as a child. We lined up for lunch, we lined up for field trips, and we lined up for class photos. The process was designed to teach order, patience, and how to alphabetize by last name.

With my above-average height and “T” surname, I spent most of my childhood bringing up the rear. So I used my unique vantage point to perfect the art of lining up. From line selection to line merging to line waiting, I’m now a calm collected pro. And as we’re all aware that grown-up lines tend to entail more chaos and frustration than the lines of yesteryear, I’d love to bestow some of the rules I’ve set for myself to ensure a peaceful line-going experience:

Line Selection

Rule #1: Don’t be sucked in by the shortest option. Eight business women in flip flops waiting for TSA screening always beats a four-member family wearing matching t-shirts.

Rule #2: People watch. Families usually equal one line item and friends are most often an individual head count. While it may be unappealing to wait for popcorn behind a gaggle of Shrek 11 watchers, it will probably be the fastest option.

Rule #3: On the flipside, no matter how small, never ever ever get behind a group of unattended kids at the grocery store. They are paying separately and likely using quarters.

Rule #4: Pick a lane. Whether you’re navigating rush hour or having each of your friends man a line until one starts moving more quickly, the six seconds you may save aren’t worth the frustration. More importantly – you’re driving everyone else crazy.

Line Merging

Rule #5: Avoid mob mentality. People seem to really enjoy making up one line to feed into what are really multiple lines. Confidently waltz up to the open register/terminal/what-have-you and do your business. Be prepared for death stares from wished-they’d-thought-of-it-first strangers.

Rule #6: If there’s a fork in the line for your roller coaster ride and everyone seems to veer right, don’t assume they know something you don’t. Assume they are cattle and move away from the herd.

Rule #7: Give the pre-thank-you-wave. They may not have planned to let you merge. They may not want to let you merge. They may curse you for the next forty-five minutes for making them let you merge. But you did the pre-thank-you-wave so your conscience is clear.

Line Waiting

Rule #8: Have something better to do. Whether it’s talking on the phone, checking your Pinterest feed, or reading the t-shirt of the guy in front of you, find something to occupy your time so you’re less frustrated by the woman whose fourteen friends just joined her in front of you. Plus, this allows you to avoid pre-thank-you-waves from others.

Rule #9: Remember that annoyance is annoying. Your foot tapping and under-breath mumbling about slow cashiers and idiot customers just proves you have nothing better to do. Relocate behind someone with an interesting shirt to read.

Rule #10: Don’t be “that guy/gal.” Take off your shoes for TSA, have your entire party present at the hostess stand, know which drink you want at the bar, and have your ticket out at the movie theater.

What keeps you sane (or drives you nearly insane) whilst waiting in line?

About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
This entry was posted in Commentary, Friends, Humor, Life Lessons, Nostalgia, School, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

197 Responses to Waiting Game

  1. Hope Newby says:

    It drives me insane for people to take up more than their “allotted” time (allotted by me, of course). If it’s a return line, return the item for crying out loud, and move on. Don’t go asking a bunch of unrelated questions or try to get change and stamps and lottery tickets and relationship advice. Not in my lane, anyway. And when you’re done, don’t move your stuff over 2 inches and balance your checkbook; give me some space please.
    You wouldn’t know it by this pet-peeve reply, but I’m actually pleasant to shop with most of the time 😉

  2. Lately I’ve taken to Twitter and pressuring awesome bloggers to post…

    Seriously, I’ve been trying to be a nicer/friendlier person to strangers so I’ve been starting to strike up conversations with people. But only if they’re good looking. 😉 If it turns out they are , douchey, mean, annoying, or completely boring, I go back to the iPhone…

  3. tua1992 says:

    I didn’t think anyone would ever make a list of the sort. But as I see it, you did and it is useful!
    Rule #1, #4, #8 is super useful. Thanks

  4. The one I learned very quickly at the grocery store is that you ALWAYS count the people waiting in a line and go to the shortest – no matter how many items there are in a court. I guarantee you that this works every single time. Don’t get sucked in by the ‘Express Lane’ craziness!

  5. I still remember the time I let this older lady with a ham go in front of me at the grocery store since I had a full cart of groceries – she paid for that ham in pennies – she had at least 8 bags of pennies. I have also been turned away from the 10 items or less line because I had a case of something and that cashier counted each one in the case as an item – REALLY?!? Great Post – thanks for sharing – loved it:) Happy Tuesday!

  6. Nancy says:

    I had to quell a riot in Petco the other day, due to a #4ish move (there was a sign requesting one line that she missed). A bunch of people started yelling and then several asked me what I saw. I looked up from my Kindle (#8) and suggested no one was trying to do anything bad, then mentioned there were three cashiers all waiting for the next customer in line. It was suddenly back to business!

  7. notquiteold says:

    I like waiting in line. It is like permission to do nothing. (except if I have to go to the bathroom.)

  8. panda0509 says:

    Reblogged this on Me and My Thoughts and commented:
    This is indeed true. I’ve experienced lining up in places where I see people lining up and I don’t even know what’s with the lining up is all about. 😀

  9. danchanmktg says:

    For rule #7, should conscious be “conscience”? Great read. My favorite ones has got to be #7 and #8!!

  10. I love this! Such a humorous list for something that’s considered an everyday thing 🙂 I always hate it when I’m alone in a line and everyone else is friends with like ten other people, chatting away. I get out my phone and proceed to refresh my facebook, gmail and twitter feed so I don’t look like a loner, whilst ‘overhearing’ their conversations.

  11. Pingback: Waiting Game « Mark Absher

  12. ‘Waiting in a Que’…. What a nice topic to write on! Fabulous….. Loved it.

  13. leejacobs says:

    Love this! Bottom line – be responsible for yourself…including your actions, inactions and responses!

  14. denimfish says:

    Fantastic! Can so relate, I tend to go for the ‘person in every line’ if there are enough of you. Just because you feel it’s a fair option. In the supermarket the ‘someone just coming on the till cos its busy’ pounce is just soooo satisfying provided you get there first!

  15. Rebecca Cao says:

    The only time I like waiting in line is at the airport, where I do criminal amounts of people-watching. Then I went to France and was shocked at the mob of people rushing the customs officer — les Français have no clue about the concept of a line.

  16. Made me laugh, thanks. I am anal about lines (it’s a Canadian thing, I think), particularly as pertains to merging in driving. People drive me nuts, it is so logical. 2 lines merging into 1. No brainer: all cars proceed as far as possible and then alternate. It is fair and efficient. Duh. Thanks for letting me vent.

  17. Usually lines go fast for me, so I don’t have a long wait. It’s when I’m inside and I’m waiting for the event to start that I need something to do (usually I bring a book or a friend though, so it’s not too bad).

  18. mommao says:

    As a very impatient person, waiting in lines have been one of my methods for increasing my patience. I grew up with a last name that started with a “B” and although I am not the shortest, I am certainly no where near the tallest – so I blame that system for making me impatient. I never had to wait! 🙂

    I am more concerned with not having to make other people wait on me than I am on waiting on other people. I coupon, but I make sure that I have all my coupons ready to hand over as soon as I can. Maybe I have 50 coupons, but I am not searching for one to give the cashier. If the person behind me is getting frustrated, I try to strike up a conversation with them. If I see someone behind me with a couple of items, I let them go in front of me.

    So, I know that it now sounds like I am so patient – but really, I am not. I just don’t want to have an anxiety attack about other people’s behavior and get into a fight in a line and end up in jail.

    (And as a former bartender – YES! Know what the hell you want to order! You sitting there not knowing is taking up the bartenders time – which is taking away their money!)

    • I’ve actually found that I’d much rather be in line behind the person with 50 coupons than someone with two. Couponers have it together and are very on top of it which makes the process quite speedy!

      • Val says:

        Yes, bu these days the CHECKERS aren’t always on top of what to do with the coupons, even if you “help” by putting the appropriate coupon on top of the item. And I’ve worked retail, there are folks who try to use every expired coupon that ever existed and then argue like you’re violating some constitutional right by refusing to accept it.

  19. Self-check out stations at libraries and grocery stores are the best. Customer Service counter lines anywhere are the worst. Yesterday, though, I scored a major coup. In the past, I’ve been acquiescent and submissive to avoid any sort of unpleasantness, but I think I’m at my limit in life and the following is evidence of my emerging superpowers.

    It was finally Friday of a week in hell. Too many things had gone wrong for even vodka and chocolate to cure. In the middle of an entire afternoon of errands that took me from one side of town to the other in Friday rush hour traffic, I got behind the last person in a long line at the Customer Service counter at a major grocery chain. At the very same time, a crotchety elderly woman got there with a cart full of items, most likely to complain about or return. Probably both. Oh, man, I did not have time for this.

    I presented by back to her and took up position in line ahead of her. She crowded me with her cart. I stood my ground. She addressed me in one of those sanctimonious schoolmarm voices. I stood my ground. She spoke louder, people looked over at us. I turned around slowly and leveled a dead gaze on her, no hint of emotion on my face, slightly psycho-killer. She looked back. I became stone, staring hard into the very center of her pupils, silent. She blinked. I maintained cold detachment, frozen and locked on her. Nothing on my body moved. I didn’t smile, I didn’t speak, I was granite. She tried another reprimand but I could tell I was scaring the shit out of her. After about thirty seconds, she said, “Alright, then,” in a low voice and backed off. I gave a curt nod and slowly turned back around, still stone but feeling like a wrecking ball. I almost wished one more person would mess with me.

    It was absolutely awesome. Works on stock boys, too.

  20. mihirkamat says:

    This was hilarious! Great job getting Freshly Pressed!

    I remember an instance that happened to me. I was waiting in line for my turn to buy some stuff at the local super market. After about 10 minutes of waiting, I was next in line to check out. This lady (bless her soul, she was target to a lot of cursing that day) comes to me and says that she has just a carton of milk to buy, and if I could allow her to go ahead. Good guy that I am, I let her cut in (much to the annoyance of the queue that stretched till the back aisle). Turns out the lady did not have enough money to pay and wasted about 10 more minutes searching her bag and purse for loose change (Change you wouldn’t even find in circulation today!).

    People hate you even more when you were the good guy.

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Ah yes the good guy gets the brunt of it but I just figure if all it takes is a line to ruin someone’s day and it makes them feel a little better to blame me for it then I’m happy to oblige (kinda).

  21. This is too funny – very astute observations!! I am usually pretty patient, but hands down my biggest pet peeve is when an employee will open up a new register and say “I can take the next person in line” and the person BEHIND you makes a beeline for it – so unacceptable!!! In the grade school lines you speak of, I was the 5th grade “safety patrol” line monitor (complete with neon orange sash and badge – not making this up) so this behavior is particularly offensive to me. Perhaps I should start carrying that sash with me so I can bring some order to unruly shoppers!

  22. lucasbrice says:

    Coming from the UK, where queueing up is a national pastime, I appreciated reading your post.

    Here’s a short poem I wrote especially for you:

    In the queue,
    Was someone new,
    I turned and said,
    “How do you do?”

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thank you fo rmy poem! Next time in line I fully intent to get chatty with my fellow waiters.

      • May says:

        As another Brit, I have to take issue with rule #5. If you try this in the UK, you will get glowered to death. I find it interesting that there is different queueing etiquette in different countries but I’ve found it to be true (four countries’ experience so far, but none where there wasn’t any etiquette at all, which I’ve heard is the case in certain cities in Asia).

  23. alexanderschimpf says:

    What is your position on talking to total strangers while standing in line? Not just answering politely the weirdo who talks to you, but being the weirdo and initiating conversation? Does this qualify as finding something more interesting to do? Or is this another way of becoming “that guy/girl” who makes it bad for everyone else?

    The only answer I can think of is that perhaps having a cute baby with you is the only way out of that impasse.

    • I’m all for it. As long as you avoid the whole “wow how about this line?!” variety of conversation. I go with asking someone’s opinion… “should I see this movie or that one?” That gives them a chance to provide a quick answer and get out of it if they aren’t interested in conversing. Although striking up the chat is risky because they could be a bigger weirdo than you are.

  24. annesquared says:

    Wonderful list. I am not a good line one for waiting in line – I like things to be efficient – so will even plan my shopping trips during times when the stores are not as crowded to minimize wait times. I know at the grocery store to look not just at the line, but who is checking and sacking – some of the employees are very slow or don’t know the prices if the scanner is wrong. (Some will put in the price you think it is, others will send someone over to get the price if they don’t know it.)

    Rule #7 Yes! this works well in most areas for merging, at least in the USA. But I have modified the technique a bit because not all cities and states seem to respect the merge rules: I wait for a very high end auto and employ #7 – or I make direct eye contact, #7.

    There is one state I have been in that is different than any other – as soon as a lane closure is announced, the cars start moving out of the lane that will be closed. The only time cars zoom ahead in the vacated, but soon to be closed lane, are the out of state plates. As a result, there is no bottleneck at the juncture where the lane closes. (You will sometimes see cars blocking the lane so “zoomers” can’t speed by to take advantage of the cleared lane.)
    Iowa. Is it a law or something?

  25. shinobiswordsman says:

    I usually people watch when I’m in line for stuff. It not only gives me something to do (people are usually quite entertaining), but it also lets me know if the line is moving or if I need to merge. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed 🙂

  26. Since I have been perpetually cursed with always ending up in the slowest line possible (seriously…the other lines can have 14 people in them, all of them paying with pennies or buying a million items and my line of 2 people with 2 items somehow takes the longest…when I am near, credit card machines fail, computer terminals spark and die, cashiers faint from a heart condition), I have learned to just go with the flow and enjoy the scenery or small talk or catch up on tabloid news. Makes for so much less stress! Great insight and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  27. loganbruin says:

    One time at the Seattle zoo I was waiting in a long line to go in when at the last kiosk I spotted a sign that said, “We’re open over here too! Honest! Come on over!” Sometimes all it takes is a little noticing.
    By the way, in kindergarten the only thing I failed was tying shoes, so your first line is not universally correct.;o)

  28. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  29. TheMitchNiche says:

    Very clever post! Also some great advice for the next time I’m in line. As a 6’5 guy I’m defiantly used to being in the back of the line.

  30. Great post. Rule 9 is belongs on a tshirt. I’d add that being casually cheerful in such situations is a life saver. Being kind to cashiers and gate agents might not produce tangible rewards each time but isn’t a pleasant interaction better than a confrontation?

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  32. mouseshouses says:

    Reblogged this on mouseshouses and commented:
    love it.

  33. pezcita says:

    I was one of those kids in #3, all the way up in college! Here’s my ultimate “getting out of a long line” story:
    One summer, I went to the grocery/hardware store at the little town where I work. The two halves of the store were owned by different companies but did not have a partition between them. I came up to the hardware cashier with items from both sections of the store and asked if I could leave some potting soil at his register while I paid for my groceries at the other end of the store. He told me I could pay for everything at his register, so I did. Nine months later when there was a huge line at the grocery store registers and I only had a few minutes to pay for my lunch and get to work, guess where I went?

  34. nathanjedi says:

    I was once in a line at Wal-Mart. On Black. Friday.

    Rule #11: Never, ever, EVER get into a line on Black Friday. EVER. I don’t care HOW great the sale on plastic crap you will never use is. Just. Don’t.

  35. Soul Walker says:

    I love the end of number nine.

  36. Good post! =) I pretty much pull the phone out and mess around. You know, mind my own business thing. One thing that annoys me though, is when the people in front do the whole yelling at the cashier/check out person routine. Nine times out of ten the poor fellow doesn’t deserve it, and it just makes things unpleasant all around.. Its pretty meh.

    Oh and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    • Hope Newby says:

      I forgot to mention the time I was in line at an airport ticket counter just to ask a question when an entire family pushed in front of me to join a single family member who had saved a spot in line so 6 more people could shove me further to the back of the line. I asked why they were all crowding in front of me and they were like, “we’re all flying together.” My question was answered by another means or I think I would have crowded in front of them and gotten my place back in line. I still feel incensed when I think about it. How can people be so rude?

    • Thanks so much! Agreed I wish people would just find a way to pass the time rather than taking our their stress on the poor cashier.. who might be enticed to move even slower now!

  37. uncarick says:

    Superb post! I shall have to take some notes on this as I’m one of the very impatient / easily frustrated types… Especially when someone has 12 items in the 10 or less check out queue. The above might just save my throwing a wobbly sometimes! Congrats on the Freshly Pressed!

  38. jaxxy says:

    Whenever I’m in the line I just pop out my handheld game and get busy. One thing I hate for sure is I almost always get gassy and try to control it. Ugh! Good post.

  39. P. says:

    Phone queues. Ever been in a phone queue that tells you the approximate waiting time, and how it never seems to get it right, I know I have. I was apparently, 6th person to be answered, and the approximate waiting time till my call was answered was 10mins. So I kicked back, put the phone on speaker and relaxed. 5mins passed, “your call has progressed in the queue, there are ‘six’ people ahead of you”
    Pardon me? six people? I though I was the sixth person? how did this happen? nevertheless I waited it out for another 20mins when a voice came on “all of our operators are currently busy, please try again later”
    –beep– –beep– –beep–
    they hung up on me.

    horrible experience.

  40. Hahaha so true. I just always end up I the slowest line!

  41. bobblogs726 says:

    Whenever I have to stand in line for a while, I take out my phone and go to wikipedia. I start memorizing lists of things. World Capitals, Presidents in order, vice presidents, Academy Award winning movies, periodic table or elements, World leaders, cabinet members, Super Bowl winners etc. I have learned more waiting in line than I ever did in school.

    • I LOVE this idea! I’ve been trying to memorize the presidents for years. I even bought myself presidential flashcards from the kid’s section at Barnes & Noble recently. This is now on my must-do list!

  42. laughed out loud…so great!
    one thing about lines and me, is the prevalence of murphy’s law – no matter which line i take or cut to, even being the shortest, takes the longest. alas!!
    nice read, congrats on being freshly pressed.

  43. JD says:

    LOL, this is awesome! I have always been the absolute WORST line picker. I’ll definitely have to follow some of these. Usually I grab a magazine off a rack and peruse it. Hopefully that will change when I finally upgrade my dinosaur of a cell phone. Then I can log into WordPress and browse around for cool articles like this…maybe then I’ll start purposely choosing the slowest line. 😉 Thanks for the tips!

  44. This is good and so funny!!!!

  45. that’s why I wear lots of shirts with funny sayings its like I am performing a community service lol. plus they start fun conversations that pass the time. like your blog great job!!

  46. mithriluna says:

    Haha this is a great post!
    Someone mentioned picking a line at the grocery store. I have been a regular at the local grocery for several years and know which cashiers are fast and which are slow. Regardless of how long the line is, I will get in line with the quick cashiers (I have my faves) over the clueless, slow cashier. And yes, I am one of those people who reads the magazines while in line.
    I do have a problem with your #5. If you do that in NJ, you definitely will have several people yelling at you (including myself though I wouldn’t yell but politely point out) to go to the back of the line. That will not be tolerated around here. At some stores, making the one line is understood among the regular patrons.

    • Thanks mithriluna! To clarify, this is definitely not an appropriate practice for a true “one line feeds into many lines” place – this is only when people think there is one queue but it’s really several and they just didn’t know it.

    • xanderrobar says:

      Agreed! I worked at HMV in Toronto many years ago, and there was literally a fist fight when someone did this at Christmas time.

  47. I may be guilty of being the kids from rule #3. I can’t waste perfectly good quarters.

  48. ditisawesome says:

    Reblogged this on awesomedit and commented:
    Why the hell I never thought of this before! Brilliant idea..

  49. clumsyfool says:

    Great post! My mood just made huge jump up. Thanks 🙂

  50. Hilarious post!

    For insane: at the grocery store, the deceptive people who only have a few items but then want to argue with the cashier about the price of every. single. item. (e.g. but there was a different price on the shelf, but there was a sign saying two-for-one, but that coupon hasn’t expired yet, but the flyer in the newspaper said it was on sale).

    I haven’t figured out a sane strategy for this one.

  51. Julliette says:

    This was really funny, and I have to say I agree! Great job!

  52. Being British, the queueing (Not even sure if I spelled that right) comes as natural to us as waking up in the morning. My main annoyance are the parents who let their kids tear around the pace while in a queue and they have to leave the queue to attend to the child and then expect to get their place back in the queue.

  53. dorothyadele says:

    Creative and humorous

  54. DugganPubs says:

    Like May and Mithriluna, I also take issue with #5. Those single lines feeding into several other lines usually are there because they are dictated by the establishment, not because “people seem to enjoy” it. For instance, in a bank it keeps you from getting stuck in line behind someone who’s closing an account or attempting some other complex financial manuveur. If you jump ahead in this type of line, you really are breaking the rules of civility and deserve the evil eye you get.

    When choosing a line in a store, I look for the line with the guy in it. Men seem to buy fewer items and have their money ready faster. I would take a Wal-Mart line with 3 guys in it over one with one woman buying a bunch of stuff.

    • Thanks for the comment DugganPubs. I agree evil eyes are expected when you really break the business’ line rule… my rule #5 only applies when the patrons accidentally created that “line” when all the registers truly had their own line.

      Good tip on the guy in line I hadn’t thought of that but you are totally right!

  55. My mom likes to hunt for the shortest line at the grocery store. I like to pick a line and commit to it.
    Great post : )

  56. Kappy says:

    I loved this post! Having stood in many a train line I can confidently say that #8 is a stress-saving technique. 100% effective!

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  58. davidatqcm says:

    well obsreved and well written . congratulations

  59. A week or two ago, my girlfriend was at the airport waiting to go through security. The line was huge, squiggling all the way through to duty free. The line for E-passports was completely free. She joined that (non)line. People gave her the stare, some made comments. Point of the story (and a non sequitur, really), sweet post, and people are sheeple.

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  61. marhtins says:

    Awesome piece of mind,well blend and manufactured,it also happened to me while queuing waiting to cast my vote,just to have the coordinator to come and allow some so called ” VIP’s” while the rules were well stipulated that queuing was the rule to all,it almost made me late for an emergency that had just occurred,i hated the whole process

  62. lscripsit says:

    Well, I think this interesting reflection on domestic line-lounging is just a teaser. Have you considered broadening it to cross-cultural comparisons—say, German liners (or would the correct term be linees?) vs. Armenians vs. Indonesian, etc.? I think you might find worlds of differences and perhaps even open new paths in international understanding. Just thinkin’ out loud…
    P.S.. The graphic reminds me of my East European wife’s account of how, in the old Soviet Union, people would jump in any long line without knowing what they were waiting for. The logic being: if it’s a long line, something good must be available.

  63. Awesome piece! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I’m “new” to the blogging, meaning I’m taking it more seriously than I did in previous years. So, I have learned it’s a big deal to be Freshly Pressed!

    Great point of view on waiting. As generations get “faster”, instant gratification is the way of the game, waiting is a foreign social/life skill. I believe I read an article that if a video takes 15 seconds to upload people get frustrated and move on. 15 seconds?! Even if I am remembering that incorrectly, I know it was under a minute. I scoff at that but then I tried watching a video last night, and it took 30 seconds to buffer, and I was getting anxious.

    I get frustrated at waiting at the coffee shop. Mostly, because I have to be somewhere and it is always my knack that the woman in front of me is ordering six drinks for her co-workers, and taking it to them, so she is fumbling to get the orders made correctly, and then trying to figure out how to get it back to work.

    Once I get my drink, and I’m sitting in my car, and the drink was made perfectly, and my freaking out amounted to being maybe 2 minutes past what I wanted it to be on the clock. That maybe there was a reason things took longer at the coffee shop? Maybe if I had gotten out on time, I would have gotten in a car accident or seen something that would make my heart sad? Maybe those two extra minutes were God protecting me from the evils of the world?

    Great post!

  64. kldawson says:

    Waiting in line is a wonderful opportunity for those quiet moments people have so rarely in our hectic times. A moment to be alone with your thoughts, meditate or do your deep breathing. Instead of complaining we should take advantage.

  65. segmation says:

    I thought I was the only person from the Midwest transported to Cali! Love your humor!

  66. jbwhite2013 says:

    Ha I just cut in line and make good conversation after so that those around me are not that upset when they realize what happened.

  67. Great topic! I always love how when I’m really in a hurry I get stuck behind somebody in the convenience store buying fifteen scratch-off lottery tickets.

  68. Congrats on being on Freshly Pressed! Love this post- especially the TSA hints. I became a pro at finding the right security line- one elderly person with a walker can ruin your whole timeline. Thanks for sharing!

  69. There have been a couple of times that I have ventured out to shop on Black Friday, and on each occasion, I had a great time talking to the people around me. We’re all in the same boat – in the freezing cold wondering what is wrong with us. It’s fun to compare notes.

  70. L. Palmer says:

    Especially in traffic, I try to have a “zen” mode, where I sit and relax, going with the flow of traffic, and avoiding worrying about time. This allows me to drive safely, while having a much better day than fellow commuters.

  71. What a great list of “line rules” – I was just at Disney (one of the kings of massive lines) last week and many of these came into play. Especially the “don’t assume everyone else knows something you don’t” logic. Thanks for sharing! This made me smile 🙂

  72. nmcvey says:

    Reblogged this on My not so elegant life 🙂 and commented:
    Must admit this made me laugh a lot!
    The most annoying thing to me: people not abiding by queue and social etiquette – yes that means those of you with the queue pushing to meet your group of friends, and those of you who are not so affectionately known as the personal space invaders (or the ‘on your shoulder heavy breathers’)

  73. goose says:

    Great post. One piece of advice to add to the mob mentality/line merging section would be that this logic does not always apply in foreign countries. My family and I went to Paris for a day trip, and when we got to the Eiffel Tower, we wanted to take the elevator to the top. We saw two lines – one overflowing with people, and one on the other side of the base that was short and quick. We opted for the short line. Unfortunately they didn’t tell us that the tickets we purchased were access to the STAIRS ONLY, no elevator. We had to hoof it or pay more, so we made the climb, but learned our lesson. Don’t assume that the short line is always the same option. Those groups of people may be at that bigger line for a good reason… 🙂

  74. I just like the pic of this blog post. That was hilarious and nice drawing too.

    Personally, I have a simple theory on line waiting. I usually get anything that involves waiting in a queue done at a time when there is no queue. For instance, ATMs, I simply use that one ATM in a corner street which is far away from the business street. At banks, I go on a week day – afternoons, when most people won’t be at the bank.

  75. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    Thanks for the laugh! I made my own bumper sticker to try to deal with traffic, ‘Slower Traffic Keep Right’. It is a law in Illinois, although many still line up in the left lane going 5 mph slower than the speed limit…

  76. It drives me mad when people are having full blown conversations on their phone and don’t notice or care when it’s their turn. Instead of grabbing the phone from their ear and stamping on it I either cough or if that fails nudge them and pretend it’s an accident.

  77. tiredella says:

    Loved this post!!! My last name starts with S, and I was also always tall… not to mention, when my family moved across the world, my last name was suddenly spelt with the second to last letter in the alphabet, so that was fun….
    But good advice and very funny!

  78. abbbz says:

    I can not handle people that drive in the exit lane and then try to merge in at the last moment. If you would just wait in line like everyone else, there would be less traffic. I am that person that has her car wedged between the regular lane and the exit lane so you cant pass. This is one of the only things that gives me road rage (that and cutting me off when there is no one behind me- I just dont get it)

  79. Melissa says:

    You need an addendum for lines where you’re paying for something – once you’ve paid move on! Don’t stand at the cash register and organize your coupons, read your receipt, or whatever else. Let the line keep moving.

    On a funny note: many years ago (when our children were very small) after standing in line for hours (including a dinner break) for pictures with Santa, we were finally next in line. The large family in front of us had gone up and had their pictures made, the parents had moved off the area but the 4 children where still hanging with Santa. My husband grumbled quite loudly wondering why that family was taking so long and what was causing such a delay now! I had to remind him, “Umm Honey, the kids are taking turns telling Santa what they want for Christmas”. Ours hadn’t gotten to the point of talking yet and he had forgotten about that element of the fun.

  80. elfknitter says:

    Great post! I love seeing other people in a queue getting annoyed at queue jumping but being wimpy like me and not daring to say anything. Often, they just look around for someone else who looks annoyed so they can shake their heads at each other.
    But really, why do we queue in the UK, US, Canada but it’s not done in other countries such as Austria, France or Spain?

  81. lauraweldon05 says:

    I’m pretty good at picking a good line… or so it seems, but my checker is ALWAYS the slowest… I can beat the crowd but not the checker!

    Thanks for your post!

  82. SandySays1 says:

    Some other line items include – Follow in line behind a big 18 wheeler when on the road (think mother duck running interference for the ‘lings – Never make a disparaging remark about the size of a lady’s rear when in a line a Disney World, sooner or later the line will double back and you’ll have to face her.

  83. So funny! Love it!

    I go insane when someone brings more that 10 items to the 10 items or less lane. I’m like…can you READ and COUNT because if not, that is a serious issue.

  84. Great post. Well done!

  85. Ernie Peters says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Your suggestions for “Line Selection” were so good, it was like you were channeling Solomon.

    Personally, I find it annoying when I’m in line at the only ATM available and the person ahead of me is taking so much time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were trying to figure out a way to refinance his house.

  86. Haha rule 7 made me laugh! I am a religious user of the ‘pre-thank-you-wave’

  87. betsyberry says:

    Great suggestions! I like your brazen confidence. 😀 In my world, the 10 items or less rule only applies when there are others in line behind you. If there is no angry customer behind me to count the items, is there still a limit?

  88. You’re efficient and considerate! The “pre-thank-you wave” is and always has been my golden rule. Thanks so much for sharing!

  89. Carrie says:

    This makes me think of people that go to fast food places (probably daily) and
    1. They don’t know what they want.
    2. Act surprised when it is time to pay.

    C’mon guy/gal. There are others behind you. Maybe you just don’t get in line until you are actually ready.

  90. ShehzorTK says:

    Its really annoying being behind little kids, You just have to smart talk them and get ahead of them 😀 works 80 % of the time

  91. Pingback: Top 10 Most Amazing Golf Carts, Waiting Game, Women are Crazy | fewdropsofsunshine

  92. whysamiam says:

    Brilliant!! Congrats on being Pressed! Cheers, Sam

  93. richelleelle says:

    Excellent post. I enjoyed the real world humor. 🙂
    I’m fairly even keeled, but the two things that drive me crazy are people who talk on the phone WHILE they are checking out (so rude) and people who try to ride the merge lane or the shoulder of the road to cut in front of other cars. I have been known to use my car as a moving road block (which seems to inspire others to help out). On the flip side, people who drive respectfully, I let merge with no issue.

  94. hahah i really enjoyed this! if you want, check out my blog at http://mylifeisabildungsroman.wordpress.com/, i think we have kind of the same humor/writing style 🙂

  95. andy1076 says:

    Wow do most of these rules fit into the life I have or what lol

  96. babyfirefly1 says:

    I love this!!! Where is live there are never enough check out registers open. I live in a high vacation area. So it is almost impossible to do quick shopping! You either go and deal with the lines and crowds or go to wal mart at 3am. Although even at 3am, the lines and crowds are still present just not as bad.

  97. I go to a small dark place in my mind and think terrible things when I get into a line, then jump to another line because it seems to be moving faster only to end up behind the lady with a thousand coupons and no apparent concept of efficient shopping, then realize that the person that was behind me in the first line has checked out and is moving past me towards the door, her car, the freeway, her home, her couch, and is settling in for an episode of The Big Bang Theory of which I will surely miss the first 10 minutes. Apparently, I’m just too stupid to think the results of this “quick thinking” shift between lines is going to generate a different result because I do it frequently. But I am convinced that although things have not gone my way before … next time will be the One. Next time, for sure.

  98. Reblogged this on EMPOWERED RESULTS ~ Creating A Difference In Our Communities… and commented:
    LOL! I have experienced every rule shared in this post! I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did!!!

  99. swanyvonne says:

    Lots of amusing truth here. As a northern Brit, I do find the American approach to queuing funny 🙂 I was once waiting in a very slow moving check in/out ‘line’ at a hotel in Amsterdam. We were just arriving and were fairly chilled out, but an American chap (‘on business’) behind us was getting more and more irate about the lack of a system/staff/differentiation as he simply wanted to hand in his hire car keys before leaving. I suggested, in my best talking teenagers out of a strop voice, that he should go and explain this to the people near the front, who were also Northern Brits and had been on our sailing and wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at him jumping in with the right kind of ‘excuse me, sorry, thank you face’ . So off he went…..however…..he came back even more red in the face as had misinterpreted my advice and had approached the rules are rules Dutch staff at the desk instead….we let him in front of us and talked about the weather….

  100. Well, I guess I am the 102nd person in line for leaving a comment. I admit I have begun this bad habit of taking articles from magazines I tear out back at home to read when I know I have to wait in a long line for the post office, airport, etc. I have found it does make the time go faster and I kill two birds with one stone. I also notice it annoys people behind me who look miserable and are probably thinking “Why didnt I bring something to do?” It double pisses them off when I pull out a small bag of Reeses Pieces while Im reading and waiting. OH well.

  101. It seems that every time I reach the front of a long line, the cashier runs to get change, goes on break, calls for a price check or the person ahead of me has some drama with coupons. It never goes well. I am pretty terrible at lines.

    Hopefully I can learn from you and look for people with interesting t-shirts to read. Thanks for the advice.

  102. tagilroy says:

    I lived in Quebec for a while, and they are really big on lines there. My mother once said that if three people lined up to look at a stop sign in five minutes you would have ten people lined up. Always make sure that you are standing in a line, not line adjacent. And always make sure you actually have to be in a line, sometimes the other people are just waiting for someone else and formed a line. I think its the grade school brainwashing.

  103. I’m always sucked in by the shortest option… Damn it! 🙂

  104. Mz Zoomer says:

    I think we are lemmings disguised as humans 🙂

  105. chaitanya says:

    Funny and helpful at the same time! Never thought of the pre-thank you wave… although I guess it only works for women! My pet peeve are people with grocery coupons for at least half of their items, IN THE EXPRESS LANE.

  106. Pingback: Waiting Game | junecommunicationsblog

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