By Iñigo ‘Naughty’ Zenicazelaya
WE have all had to wait in line, especially here in the Bahamas.
And since we can agree that we’ve all toed the line before, then we must also acknowledge to being cut in the line.
There are a variety of “line cutters’’ – some with good reasons and others without, but it’s generally infuriating all the same.
In these times of COVID-19, with lines now a mandatory part of everyday life, with social distancing rules and protocol in full effect everywhere we go, here are a few tips on how to deal with “the cutters”, regardless of the situation.
STUDY THE LINE YOU’RE ON
When people wait in line, in essence they’re gathering one behind the other in single file—or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.
Unfortunately, not every line is created equal.
Stores will occasionally offer some sort of designated method of organisation, even sometimes offering a hired helper to move things along efficiently.
Other stores will just let their customers figure things out on their own. (This is where the manure usually hits the fan in the 242).
Another good example of this is when boarding a flight, where an organisation scheme is offered, but is hardly ever followed.
Lack of organisation is why problems occur.
When there is a seemingly lax organisation, it’s easy for any person to misinterpret the rules of the line.
Before you make any decisions about what to do, know what kind of line you’re in.
If the instructions are clear, you can point them out.
If they’re not, you may just want to let the issue go. (Especially if dealing with a ‘jungaliss’).
In the event you do want to say something to the cutter, proceed with caution. Your insurance may not cover it, and it may have been an honest mistake.
People make mistakes often, so don’t forget the old adage, “to err is human, to forgive is divine.”
I remember in my college days, I was waiting in line for 20 minutes to make a deposit at the school ATM.
It always had a ridiculous single-file line, but it was a half a mile to the next ATM.
Another student cut in front of me very early on in the line and I didn’t say anything because I thought he was just talking to his friends.
By the time he’d gotten to the ATM, I’d built up so much anger that I lashed out at him. The entire line then got mad at me because he played the victim.
In retrospect, I think he honestly had no idea I was in line.
When I angrily told him in my best, most colourful ‘Bahamanese’ that I was there first and I thought he was just talking to his friends. The rest of the line suddenly saw a raging monster emerge from the ether.
Although I earned my rightful spot back in line, it was with an angry mob at my back. When you bring anger into the situation, don’t expect things to always work out in your favour.
KNOW THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
When you do want to approach a line cutter, to let them know they just violated the rules of engagement, don’t forget these three important things:
Don’t get angry
Ask someone nearby—preferably behind you—if they saw that person cut in the line.
If they did, you now have a partner who has a horse in the race.
- Confront the cutter as soon as possible. You’ll lose your chance if you “slunk”.
When you confront the line cutter, be polite.
A simple sentence like, “Excuse me, but I believe you just cut in line” is forceful enough to get your point across while still remaining open to the possibility that you could be wrong, and they were simply joining their friend to wait with them in solidarity.
In the event that they argue, and things get out of hand, you either need to let it go (if the cutter is willing to drop the issue, too, or wearing an ankle monitor), or simply find a manager/person of authority and ask them to handle the problem for you.
IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?
But something as unimportant as a person cutting in line should really never escalate to that level.
The important thing to remember is that while it’s rude for people to cut in line, you can’t fight every battle.
A majority of the time it’s simply not worth fighting. (Consider the unnecessary stress and high blood pressure you’re willing to suffer).
If cutters really get your goat, the problem is you, not them. Yes, you!
People’s ability to annoy us largely depends on the permission we give them to annoy us.
Never lose focus.
One of the most virtuous things in humanity is patience.