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Queue etiquette question


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I went to the bank today. I live in a culture where people are absolutely rubbish at forming queues on their own and the bank did not have a queue management system whatsoever. When I arrived there, there was only one person sitting in the waiting area for the service I was after who, when I asked, said that he thought that he was the last in line. This was a queue that was moving painfully slow as everyone's query was somewhat complicated and the bank was understaffed due to being the holiday season. People started coming and after about ten minutes there were six of us waiting for our turn when a guy leisurely strolled in holding a coffee and a pastry. He then proceeded to wait standing in the same waiting area eating and drinking his coffee. When the person before me finally got up to get served, this guy tried to get next in line. He said that he had come at a previous time but was told that it would take a while to get served so he "just went out for a few minutes to get a coffee". The bank customer service person never told him that they would hold their place in line nor did he ask anyone whether it was ok to leave.

 

Basically what this guy did was that he upped and left the queue without saying anything to anyone, exited the bank, went to the coffee shop across the street, bought a coffee etc and then he came back and felt that he was still entitled to his place in the queue without asking permission from the people that came in the meantime, while he was gone and nowhere to be seen. I felt differently and refused to let him pass before me. The person at the bank customer service sided with me, which eventually resulted in him being shown to the manager muttering about my lack of a life. LOL. I will admit to being annoyed by what I perceived as a "spoiled brat" behavior on his part, yet he seemed to feel that it was perfectly acceptable under the circumstances to up and leave the bank like that for several minutes to grab a coffee and a pastry. Was I petty?

 

P.S. Happy Holidays!

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I think you were right. Yesterday I waited in line at a fast food place at an airport. Waiting for my husband and son to join me as they were in the restroom. I then wanted to check the menu to make sure we would like to eat there. The first thing I did was tell the guy behind me what I planned to do since it was a long line - I always do that because I don't want it to look like I'm cutting the line. (and yes I think it's ok for my husband and son to join as we would be under the same food order). Your guy just left the line and the bank. Nope. Not ok and I would have said something. The other day I was at the grocery store. We were on one line for a register. Then the neighboring register opened so that whichever one was free next would go to the next person in line. I then notice the guy behind me with his girlfriend trying to inch past me so that he would get the next register. First I body blocked him, and then when he tried again I turned around, smiled and politely and firmly said "I know what you're trying to do. (pause) And it's not going to happen." And then i put my entire cart across to permanently block him. I can't stand people who do that kind of stuff. Good for you!

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Not petty at all, Clio. Good for you! I would have done the same thing (and have in the past).

 

The guy was entitled and rude. I find these types of people need to be called out, otherwise they take advantage.

 

You did the right thing! Good work!

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I wouldn’t say you were right or wrong, simply a choice you made.

 

Me personally? If I saw that he was indeed in line ahead of me and left and came back, I’d probably just let him. It’s not required of course and if I chose not to it would have been ok as well.

 

Christmas Eve I stood in what I thought was a line, it wasn’t, but I was standing in the general area first, it wasn’t until I saw two others standing in the actual line that I said out loud, oh shoot, I thought I was in line and proceeded to walk behind the other two, fully accepting that I would have to wait, the gentleman stated no no you’re next I saw you standing there, go ahead.

 

Was he required to do that? Of course not, nor did I expect it, I screwed up after all, but it was appreciated.

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Thank you everyone! It's nice to know that other people can see where I was coming from.

 

Was he required to do that? Of course not, nor did I expect it, I screwed up after all, but it was appreciated.

 

Your case imo was entirely different though. You didn't leave the building to go buy coffee without making any attempt to hold your place, nor did you try to get back without asking for anyone's permission. You were standing there just like everyone else, people had seen you and you did not try to get in the line without asking permission. No-one particularly likes waiting still and most people would like to get away in the meantime to do other things but if everyone did what he did, determining priority would be a constant headache. Noone from us who came in the meantime had seen him, yet he pretended that we were not there and the person before us did not remember him. He didn't care about the headache this kind of behaviour creates when there is no queue management system in place, which is why I felt that this was not a behaviour to be rewarded. He did not leave because something important came up or because he had to go to the toilet, he left to buy coffee and pastry. I felt that this was disrespectful. Thank you for your comment though! It was nice to get a glimpse to an alternative point of view.

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That sounds awful. Sorry this happened at all, Clio.

 

I'm curious if you saw a bank manager or assistant manager working there at the time or at a desk. Their days off (vacation) are usually staggered and there's one at all times to open and close the bank, sign off on the employee's sheets and close the vaults. That person should have come out to help keep things orderly and keep the peace.

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I'm curious if you saw a bank manager or assistant manager working there at the time or at a desk.

 

That person should have come out to help keep things orderly and keep the peace.

 

I didn't see the bank manager but there was one somewhere in the building. The lady who was manning the bank customer service desk I was in spoke to them on the phone and also phoned a security person who escorted the guy to them. What probably happened is that they served him at a different office to keep the peace, but at least he was out of our faces.

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I didn't see the bank manager but there was one somewhere in the building. The lady who was manning the bank customer service desk I was in spoke to them on the phone and also phoned a security person who escorted the guy to them. What probably happened is that they served him at a different office to keep the peace, but at least he was out of our faces.

 

It's too bad as it could have been avoided. Line ups bring out the worst in a lot of people.

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Hopefully to bring some levity -my son was in the shopping cart years ago- he probably was about 3 years old and tired of waiting at a Walmart or a store like that for customer service -as in my last example I noticed a man with a cart trying to inch his way ahead of us and there was no way I was going to wait an extra minute with a fussy child. So I moved our cart as close to his as I could so that my son basically wailed in his face. It worked and he stepped back.

 

I agree with FIO that if someone shows respect and appreciation and you can cut slack, sure, do it - and in your case he did not and I definitely would not have.

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I agree with FIO that if someone shows respect and appreciation and you can cut slack, sure, do it - and in your case he did not and I definitely would not have.

 

I agree too. Sadly, this guy seemed oblivious to these concepts and probably left none the wiser. On the one hand it's somewhat tempting (to me) to put such people back in their place, on the other hand one never knows what kind of a head case the other person might be.

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This is how to deal with queue cutters and budgers...

 

Turn to face the long line behind you, loudly announce "Excuse me folks, would everyone mind taking a step back, this person feels that they are entitled to cut in line and we need to make room..."

 

Works every time... safety in numbers!

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The game changer for me is that you weren't even there when he ducked out. If someone's in front of me and it's going to be a wait, I'd be perfectly fine if they ask to grab a coffee or use the restroom. They were indeed there before me and them suffering the full wait in front of me doesn't help or hinder my time and effort any. But so long as he's not 6'5" and a couple bucks, someone strolling in with a Starbucks and shimmying their way in front of me without having said a word until then is getting a direct laughing in the face.

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If someone left the queue for a prolonged period of time (doesn't matter what for) I wouldn't be too keen about it. There are exceptions such as an emergency.

 

Having said that, I generally don't mind if someone before me leaves the queue to urgently use the restroom or make a quick phone call or find a long lost buddy or whatever as long as they let me know beforehand that they'll be back shortly. But simply leaving for a long period of time signals to me that you're not returning.

 

 

I feel for you as it's annoying when this stuff happens.

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Thank you all for your input. I got annoyed because none of us had been there when he left so none of us had seen him before. Plus, he left without telling the person before him or the bank employee that was serving us that he would be back, yet he felt that he could waltz back in as if we were invisible. If he had been somewhat apologetic/explain himself for stepping out for coffee instead of having an entitled attitude I wouldn't have made it an issue. It just boggled my mind that someone would so casually step out of the bank building to go buy coffee and then not explain himself in some way when they returned. Going to the toilet or some other urgent matter I would have understood but leaving to get coffee and showing no inclination to explain themselves somehow felt disrespectful.

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