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[travel] In which I dispense (very gentle) justice - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-07-17 15:30
Subject: [travel] In which I dispense (very gentle) justice
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, california, cars, child, personal, travel
Unusually, I rented a car here in San Francisco. This is because the_child is arriving in a few hours, and the witchmobile is a two-seater ride. I don't think my kid needs to cruise around the City by the Bay locked in the trunk of a Miata, if you know what I'm saying.

The Hertz counter at SFO was like a refugee camp. Actually, all the car rental places were. (It's a big area offsite with a common waiting room.) Hundreds of people in there, many slumped over their luggage, wailing babies, the whole business. Being a frequent traveler, I smugly whisked my way downstairs to the Gold counter. Where my name was not on the magic tote board, necessitating a not-so-smug trip inside where about twenty people were in line. (This is very unusual.)

As I finally got to the head of the line, perhaps thirty minutes after standing in it, two women walked in the door and right up to the clerk who was about to beckon me over. This irritated the heck out of me. I put a big smile on my face, stepped close to them, and in my best passive-aggressive sweet voice asked, "Excuse me, but were you in line in front of me?"

The older of the women gave me a sour look and said, "No, but we just have a question."

I said, "Ma'am, we all have questions. And we've been standing in that line back there a very long time waiting our turns."

She looked away from me, so I added, still very nicely, "Think how you'd feel if I did this to you after you'd been standing in line."

"We'll only be a minute," she said. Her friend was looking everywhere but at me, deeply embarrassed.

I told her, "Well, you do what you think is right, ma'am. Thank you for your consideration."

As they were leaving, after conducting a fairly complex transaction involving the second woman as a driver on the first woman's contract, I leaned close again and said, still in a calm voice with a smile, "I really appreciate your thoughtfulness."

The older woman mumbled an apology and they slunk out.

Obviously it did me no good — the clerked still helped them, line jumpers or no, and they weren't embarrassed enough to give it up, forcing me to wait another five minutes or so — but I hope like hell they were at least a little galled by their sense of entitlement.

Originally published at jlake.com.

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dinogrl
User: dinogrl
Date: 2009-07-17 23:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Were they perhaps in the line earlier since she already had a contract?

There is far more line-jumping going on these days, and I'm glad you handled it with such dignity. I would have put the whoop-ass on them...beeeeyotches.

At least she mumbled an apology. I would have responded as loudly as possible. "Why, THANK YOU for APOLOGIZING!"
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-07-17 23:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
No, they admitted they'd just walked in with a question. If they'd said, "Oh, we were in line and had to come back", I would have smiled and retreated.
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dinogrl
User: dinogrl
Date: 2009-07-18 00:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ugh. How rude! You did the right thing.
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dinogrl
User: dinogrl
Date: 2009-07-18 01:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You know, thinking on this, why aren't the service folks, or checkers, or people at the desk calling line-bumpers on this? I've been in this situation a time or five, and the person at the desk-who has the control-has exercised it in a polite fashion. I think they also need to be reminded that it is part of their job to prevent this. I guess there will be an exception for every rule, but the exceptions are running amok.
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2009-07-18 02:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've seen the person working the line call the line-jumper on the behaviour once. In Trinidad. Not in the US.
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madrobins
User: madrobins
Date: 2009-07-17 23:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are a Hero of the Revolution.
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Daibhéid: forgiving stupid people
User: daibheid
Date: 2009-07-17 23:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:forgiving stupid people
*that* was brilliant.

::takes mental note for future::
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Kelly Green
User: saycestsay
Date: 2009-07-18 00:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've noticed a lot more line jumpers these days. And as you mention, the powers that be seem disinclined to discourage them.

I wonder if it's a fear of not being served... but no. It's probably entitlement. ("Why should we have to stand in line with the peasants?") When this happens at Greyhound I gently remark it's my turn and generally manage to swing my backpack in an unattractive way. No, not "nunchuck backpack," more "Caution! Bag in Face!"
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Shauna Lee Raven
User: shauna_lee
Date: 2009-07-18 00:25 (UTC)
Subject: I applaud you
I get this sort of thing at the grocery store. People walk up and start asking my cheker something right in the middle of whatever I was saying, because I always treat my checkers as the people they are and talk to them while being helped. The checkers never make the line-jumpers wait.

Why do people think whatever they have to do or ask is so much more important than the people who were following the rules and waiting their turn? I see people with this "me first, me only" attitude everywhere: running stop signs, line-jumping, all sorts of rudeness. And they always seem so bloody astonished when called on it, as if they cannot concieve they were in any way out of line. Or maybe it is just so unusual for anyone in this P.C. society to say anything to the rude ones anymore.

Hopefully Ms. Self Important will think twice before doing it again, since you embarrassed her, and she won't want to risk that again.

I think the rest of us should call these people on their rudeness, politely but firmly insisting they wait their turn or cease whatever self-centered rudeness they are indulging in. If this rudeness were to once again have consequences (i.e. embarrassment), people would be less likely to try to get away with it.
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kyle cassidy
User: kylecassidy
Date: 2009-07-18 00:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're collecting all sorts of names to put in your next book! More food for the swamp creatures from Blugzprogpt!
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Morgan: scully guts
User: subu
Date: 2009-07-18 00:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:scully guts
I loved the way you handled it. I really do hope she thinks back and realizes how rude she was.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2009-07-18 00:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's a lot more of that sort of thing going on of late.

I tend to put on my best alpha mare face combined with my middle school teacher voice to discourage it.

Middle school teacher voice usually does the job.
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Hal
User: hal_obrien
Date: 2009-07-18 01:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"I don't think my kid needs to cruise around the City by the Bay locked in the trunk of a Miata, if you know what I'm saying."

{blink}

Have you no respect for tradition?!

Sheesh.
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2009-07-18 01:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'll bet the clerk and anyone else in hearing range will remember how well you handled it, though. And maybe the friend will remember next time.
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threeoutside
User: threeoutside
Date: 2009-07-18 02:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Bravo, you handled it nicely.

Personally, I quit being nice when people are chattering through a movie years ago. You pay too much to watch a movie to listen to idiots blathering. Often I get dirty looks from other *quiet* movie-goers, though I'm always quiet about it, but I don't care. It usually shuts the morons up.

Maybe we should all start carrying little stickers around that say "I'm a rude, selfish line-jumper," and just sort of give those folks a friendly pat on the back as they leave. Heh heh.
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Sally Cinnamon: bucky writes
User: elizawrites
Date: 2009-07-18 02:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bucky writes
You handled that very well. In that kind of situation I go from zero to frothing rage in about two seconds, but I think yours probably works better.
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chant_1
User: chant_1
Date: 2009-07-18 04:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love how you handled that. I would have just seethed inwardly and been cranky for the rest of the day. ; )
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martyn44
User: martyn44
Date: 2009-07-18 09:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Come the heat death of the universe, when even the cockroaches have gone to their reward, there will be crowds of the entitled in their impervious armour demanding that someone do something about the intolerable situation.
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User: tsheehan
Date: 2009-07-18 15:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love that. I call that "nicing". One could be just as rude as the queue jumper, but being painfully nice is, I think, less likely to turn into real unpleasantness and more satisfying.

At a cafe I used to frequent (well, almost live in), I watched a woman barge to the front of a really long line. She said loudly, "I just need a coffee and I'm in a hurry."
Gretchen, the barista, looked at her and said, "Yep, you and everybody else." Then she looked pointedly around the woman and said, "What can I get for you?" to the next person in line. Gold.

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-07-18 19:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of my favorite piece of "nicing" is when I've been cut off in a cross-walk by someone blowing through it, to jump out behind them, give big cheery wave and shout "Thank you!" in an enthusiastic voice. It often cracks up people in the area, though I don't suppose it has any impact on the sort of self-involved asswipes who run crosswalks in the first place. (Of course, neither does giving them the bird, and at least a cheery wave is entertaining rather than escalating.)
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thecrimsony
User: thecrimsony
Date: 2009-07-18 15:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You handled that with quite a bit of grace.

Of couse, I ALSO like the guy in front of me a couple weeks ago when a lady jumped in front of us and he let loose like a New York cabbie who just got cut off. Like your sitch, she tried to ignore him and the checker wasn't going to ask her to wait at first but oh no, Mr. New-York-in-freakin-Bellevue-Washington wasn't about to let that happen. Finally, the clerk politely asked her to wait and he went through and if I hadn't gotten another checker before she jumped me in line, he probably would have kept yelling.
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Keffy
User: kehrli
Date: 2009-07-18 20:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah yes, those people.
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willyumtx
User: willyumtx
Date: 2009-07-19 00:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, you were really calm about this. Congrats!

I'm surprised they were not shamed into going to the back of the line.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2009-07-19 01:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're a better person than I am, Jay.
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Bibbit
User: bridget_coila
Date: 2009-07-19 04:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are so much nicer than me... and handled that nicely... I would not have been nearly so calm.


B
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jenntheamazon
User: jenntheamazon
Date: 2009-07-19 18:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I get this all the time, only from the other side of the counter. It irritates the hell out of me. But, as always I always have to give "service with a smile", even though I want to yell at them and tell them to freakin wait their turn. Worst part is, most of the time its adult cutting in front of kids. Working in a library can be a pretty hectic place to work in, despite all stereotypes.
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