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Old 02-17-2018, 09:12 PM
Roy Batty Roy Batty is offline
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Do you confront line-skippers?

I thought starting a thread like this would be interesting - it's something I'm genuinely curious about - i.e., whether or not people confront line-skippers.

This used to happen to me more when I was younger - when it did, I typically would get upset, and say something like, "I'm in line!", and the person would back down. I have a deep voice, which I'm sure helped.

This rarely happens to me anymore. However, what has happened is that sometimes (not often) I've been in line & I can tell some tool is trying to "inch" their way in front of me. At that point, I'll position myself and/or my shopping cart in such a way that there is no question that I am front of them in line. It's funny how people try to be so sneaky - do they think I'm stupid enough to fall for this?!

My take on this is that potential line-cutters will size up the person they're looking to cut in front of in order to judge (in their own mind) if that person will confront them about the line-cutting. If they've deemed that person won't (or probably won't) say anything, they'll do it.

This almost never happens anymore, since I shop online a lot more than I used to, and can avoid lines that way. Unfortunately, it's not practical to order perishable food online...

This is not the same thing - but, in the past, when I'm not in a hurry and have a lot of groceries - and if someone behind me in line only has a couple of items - I have let them ahead of me.

Last edited by Roy Batty; 02-17-2018 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:20 PM
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Oh, yes. Several years ago, an older woman was standing in line in front of me with a few things in her arms, and when it got to be time for her to be checked out, she called over her husband who was standing in a line with a completely full cart. I wasn't having it. We had a full on confrontation right there, and finally a clerk came and took them away to another line. There was also a case when I was Christmas shopping and had been standing in line for a long, long time, not only behind slow customers, but then there was a woman doing a return and it took the clerk forever to clear her. I finally got to the front of the line, and another clerk came over with another customer and tried to put her in front of me. I put my foot down. And when the clerk who was waiting on the line I was in told me that she had to wait on the person coming in from out of the blue, I was on my last nerve, and I threw my purchases at her and walked out.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:22 PM
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Also, just recently, standing in line at a movie theater, a woman came over from out of the blue and stood right next to me. There were people behind me. As I got called to the window, the woman tried to ease herself in front of me. I told her that she was not going to do that, and she also needed to go to the rear of the line behind the people behind me. Unfortunately, they were move forgiving than me, and told her she could go in front of them.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:30 PM
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I volunteer in a concession stand. The school age kids who know this trick just really peeve me. They learned that somewhere.
What really gets me is the is the kid whose close to the front of the line and the vultures who swoop in and get him to place an order for them. The poor kid is overwhelmed and confused. If I see it happening I put my foot down and make that vulture wait forever. Sometimes authority goes to my head. I admit it.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:38 PM
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And when the clerk who was waiting on the line I was in told me that she had to wait on the person coming in from out of the blue, I was on my last nerve, and I threw my purchases at her and walked out.
It's a pretty impressive achievement to tell an anecdote about the appalling behavior of line-cutters where the line-cutter ends up looking more sympathetic than the narrator.

I'm against line-cutting/queue-jumping too, but a rather chilly "Excuse me sir/ma'am, I think the end of the line is back there" is about as ragey as I can manage to get in such circumstances. Throwing items at a salesclerk who's just had a line-cutter handed to her by a fellow clerk or supervisor is what I'd consider a disproportionate response.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:40 PM
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I've had good luck saying something, but I've got to say it right away (before I think about how they might take a swing at me, and before they get comfortable). I'm super nice and act like "Oh, sorry, you probably didn't notice the big long line behind me..."

That gives them a choice: they can be revealed as a jerk to dozens of strangers... or they get to save face by going along with the "Just a Mistake" Scenario: "Oh, golly gosh, I must've spaced out. Sorry."

To be honest, the "Just a Mistake" Scenario happened to me, as I wandered into line while looking at my phone. Only to look up, see that I'd walked into a gap in a line... with twenty people behind me. I immediately went into Sheepish Apology mode.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:41 PM
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Yea, I believe I would quietly just leave in that circumstance. It's not the clerks fault.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:45 PM
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Absolutely, but a raised eyebrow will usually suffice. My eyebrows are legend.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:09 PM
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Absolutely, but a raised eyebrow will usually suffice. My eyebrows are legend.
I have a friend who can do that. We call it his Spock Eyebrow.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:26 PM
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Absolutely, but a raised eyebrow will usually suffice. My eyebrows are legend.
Are they like Peter Gallagher eyebrows?

Those things have definition, like he's walking into the room with two extra people.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:34 PM
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I've really only had this happen to me a couple of times, but the one that really made me mad was at an airport cafe. I wanted a cup of coffee before my flight, and was next in the queue to step up to the counter. I was not happy that the woman standing behind me decided to just jump in front of me, step up to the counter and place her order. As she was waiting for her coffee, I just moved forward, smiled at her, and said something along the lines of "It's okay. You can get in front of me. Apparently, your time is more valuable than mine." She didn't say a word, but grabbed her order and hurried off.

There was no way I was going to let that slide. I really just had to say something.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:27 PM
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I find that a firm but polite, "Get to the back of the line or I'm going to fuck you up," generally restores order.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:33 PM
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I don't think I've ever witnessed someone cutting in line. At least not since elementary school.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:59 PM
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So you are on the 4 lane highway and suddenly all cars are slowing down. There is obviously some traffic accident/problem up ahead. The correct move is to slide into one of the lines that you hope will move. And then you wait. It is not proper to keep switching lanes if one line seems to be moving faster. It is not proper to slide into the soon-to- be- vanishing lane that has emptied out as multiple lanes move into fewer lanes. You should not ever attempt to continue in the closing merge-from lane to pass slow rolling cars until you get to the obstruction and then nose your way into the line. Decent people realize everyone's time is valuable and thus do not try to jockey position to shorten a fair wait.

Last edited by Biotop; 02-18-2018 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:11 AM
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Oh, yes. Several years ago, an older woman was standing in line in front of me with a few things in her arms, and when it got to be time for her to be checked out, she called over her husband who was standing in a line with a completely full cart.
Last April I started a thread about a similar thing that happened to me, and asked whether it constituted cutting in line. Some people insisted it did, and others insisted it didn't.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:13 AM
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It is not proper to slide into the soon-to- be- vanishing lane that has emptied out as multiple lanes move into fewer lanes. You should not ever attempt to continue in the closing merge-from lane to pass slow rolling cars until you get to the obstruction and then nose your way into the line. Decent people realize everyone's time is valuable and thus do not try to jockey position to shorten a fair wait.
The lane is there to be driven on, not to be looked at. If everyone's time is valuable, the best way to honor that is to not push the backup farther down the road by pretending that the lane ends before it really does.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 02-18-2018 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:22 AM
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I don't think I've ever witnessed someone cutting in line. At least not since elementary school.
I see it occasionally. Sometimes people do it accidentally—for instance, there's a produce market in Berkeley where the registers don't line up very well with the aisles, and when there are long lines people can get confused. Every so often some jerk does it deliberately.

Then there was the time several years ago in a butcher shop. It was one of those places where you're supposed to take a number to be waited on. I don't remember the number I had, but let's say it was 73. I waited my turn, and when an employee called out "73," I stepped up for service. A customer behind me yelled out a much lower number, like 47. I gave him a puzzled look, and again he yelled, "47!" I asked where he had been when they called his number. He said, "I was out shopping somewhere else. You don't expect me to waste my time waiting around here, do you?" I gave him a cold stare and said, "If you're not here when they call your number, you lose your turn." Fortunately, the employee didn't try to serve him before me.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:00 AM
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I will definitely say something.

If there is ANY way under the sun that it could be a mistake, like a jenky line, old person, kid, special needs etc. I will say the line starts over there (pointing), and treat it like a total accident.

For those who brazenly survey the line and walk to the front, I say the same thing but very blunt (I'm a big guy/deep voice)

If that doesn't work,

I say ," Didn't your mother teach you how to wait your turn? Go to the back of the line."

90% will go to the back, if they don't, others in the line will usually speak up, and that cover a few more %.
But some people are shameless...

If they don't move, I don't make em.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:29 AM
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The lane is there to be driven on, not to be looked at. If everyone's time is valuable, the best way to honor that is to not push the backup farther down the road by pretending that the lane ends before it really does.
Qft. When will people learn? Use all lanes till merge point.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:50 AM
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Although I'm more likely to make the opposite mistake (standing behind someone who wasn't actually in line), occasionally I have accidentally "cut the line", particularly if the person at the end of the line was giving the person ahead of them ample personal space, and looking off to one side at something. There was also at least one occasion where I thought the line was flowing in the other direction, and mistook the front for the back. I've always been appropriately apologetic when my error is pointed out. I sincerely hope there haven't been any times I've done it and not had someone point it out.

So I guess my vote is: Please do confront the line-cutter, but maybe keep it to a simple "Excuse me, I'm in line" rather than assuming they're intentionally being an a-hole. Even if you think it was obvious, you might be surprised at my capacity to screw up basic social interactions. 😊
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:56 AM
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Qft. When will people learn? Use all lanes till merge point.
QFT again. Ideally the two lanes are balanced at about equal length.

Once I was in a merge pattern like that where the two lanes were alternately taking turns as they ought. While waiting my turn, I composed a haiku:

Two traffic lanes merge
into one. Silent zipper
invisibly zips.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:58 AM
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I don't see it very often but yes I'll speak up.

One time, with a queue of several loaded trolleys at a checkout a latecomer asked the person in front me if they could go in front of them as they were in a hurry and didn't have as much stuff (they had quite a lot) ,the person ahead of me said yes. At which point I pointed out that it would be fine as long as they were willing to take the latecomers position at the back of the queue. They seemed a bit confused by this but I pointed out that I was in a hurry as well and possibly all those behind me were too and their little collusion was making us all even later. So I said either you go to the back or you do. The latecomer relented.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:00 AM
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... If I see it happening I put my foot down and make that vulture wait forever. Sometimes authority goes to my head. I admit it.
Was that foot wearing a sparkly jackboot?
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:42 AM
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So you are on the 4 lane highway and suddenly all cars are slowing down. There is obviously some traffic accident/problem up ahead. The correct move is to slide into one of the lines that you hope will move. And then you wait. It is not proper to keep switching lanes if one line seems to be moving faster. It is not proper to slide into the soon-to- be- vanishing lane that has emptied out as multiple lanes move into fewer lanes. You should not ever attempt to continue in the closing merge-from lane to pass slow rolling cars until you get to the obstruction and then nose your way into the line. Decent people realize everyone's time is valuable and thus do not try to jockey position to shorten a fair wait.
What you're up against is that there really is no generally agreed-upon behavior for motorists in pretty much any situation. We all have different notions in our head about what the rules of appropriate road behavior should be.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:41 AM
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It happened on occasion in Japan. My train started in Shinjuku and people would nicely queue but occasionally someone would stand by the front of the line. Most Japanese don't call out bad behavior, but I found that loudly giving an exaggerated etiquette lesson would usually embarrass the would-be jumper.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:42 AM
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This rarely happens, but I never confront anyone over it. I'm never in a hurry anyway so I file it under the "meh" column and let 'em go on. If the store were to allow this constantly I'd just shop elsewhere. Ditto for traffic. The actual time difference between my lane and the one that seems to be faster is rarely much. Occasionally an extra car will squeeze in during a "zipper" situation and the car behind me starts yelling and honking, but: a) I'm not a cop and I don't control traffic and, b) my truck weighs over 8000 lbs. -- your opinion doesn't interest me.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:48 AM
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I used to ship a lot of packages at the Post Office. I would show up at about 10 minutes to opening time, and be pretty much first in line, with 40 people showing up at opening time.

One time, a young woman parked next to me at the door. When they unlocked it, she ran in and jumped to a window like she was going to a Who concert. I strolled right up behind her, and was having none of that. She tried to get right behind me, but the crowd was in unison, and she ended up going to the back of the line.

I could feel her laser beam eyes burning up the back of my head. Ha!
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:10 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Don't underestimate the powers of old people in this scenario. Often they will guilelessly "wander" into a frontal position in a line, professing bemusement when called upon. You HAVE to kick them in the knees to take them down, or they'll never learn nothin'.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:28 AM
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Mean Mr. Mustard Mean Mr. Mustard is offline
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Don't underestimate the powers of old people in this scenario. Often they will guilelessly "wander" into a frontal position in a line, professing bemusement when called upon. You HAVE to kick them in the knees to take them down, or they'll never learn nothin'.
Hah! This reminds me of the time a little old man cut in front of my sister in me in line. "I'll kick his cane", she whispered, "and you shove him aside".


mmm
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:31 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Hah! This reminds me of the time a little old man cut in front of my sister in me in line. "I'll kick his cane", she whispered, "and you shove him aside".


mmm
LOL. Reminds me of a teenaged friend who parked in a handicapped space at the mall. When I protested, he said" You limp, I'll drool".
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:45 AM
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The lane is there to be driven on, not to be looked at. If everyone's time is valuable, the best way to honor that is to not push the backup farther down the road by pretending that the lane ends before it really does.
I disagree. The same number of cars must pass through the bottleneck point. The order through the bottleneck should be the order arrived at by those who approach the bottleneck per order of arrival to the overall slowdown of all our cars. That rate through the actual bottleneck will not change by swerving around cars who have already determined the proper open lane. This is instead line jumping and the anonymity afforded by being in a car does not change civil behavior.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:49 AM
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What you're up against is that there really is no generally agreed-upon behavior for motorists in pretty much any situation. We all have different notions in our head about what the rules of appropriate road behavior should be.
Well now we have the correct rule. The correct notion is not to see how you can get through fastest, but to see how we can get through fastest.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:56 AM
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I disagree. The same number of cars must pass through the bottleneck point. The order through the bottleneck should be the order arrived at by those who approach the bottleneck per order of arrival to the overall slowdown of all our cars. That rate through the actual bottleneck will not change by swerving around cars who have already determined the proper open lane. This is instead line jumping and the anonymity afforded by being in a car does not change civil behavior.
This is one issue that it boggles my mind how so many otherwise intelligent people don't seem to think through. The so-called zipper merge can only work if the cars in both lanes are spaced out as though they were in one line to begin with. And even then at best it will be just slightly slower than if everyone were single file to begin with.
Unless someone can come up with a magic way to create a space between two cars without slowing down everyone behind them.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:00 AM
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Depends on what kind of mood I'm in. That is, I will if I'm in a good mood, because I know I'll be able to keep my wits about me and handle it with grace. If I'm in a bad mood I know I'll end up dropping an F-bomb, so I just stand there and stew in it.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:21 AM
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I don't encounter them that often in the first place. I am fairly big and have a deep voice but I am also polite so I just tell them what the situation is when it comes up. They almost always oblige so there is no need to "confront" anyone. I would just let them go first anyway if it ever came to that because it isn't something worth getting mad about. Getting angry about perceived petty slights is for lesser people.

However, I had someone accuse me of it once at Whole Foods (the horror!). I was standing in line for a long time when the professionally dressed guy behind me suddenly went berserk and loudly proclaimed that I cut him in line even though there was no way to do that and I was standing there the entire time. I told him that I wasn't capable of teleportation yet but I was working on it. He was furious and would not back down. Luckily, the cashier witnessed the whole thing and admonished me not to teleport in line ever again. That seemed to satisfy the psycho. I just felt bad for his family.

It is a bit of a tangent but Whole Foods has some of the most insane and nastiest customers on the planet. That is one of many bad episodes I have experienced and I won't shop there anymore simply because of their customers. The stores themselves and employees are great but they attract the angriest extreme liberals this side of Berkeley. I have better stuff to do than hang out with a bunch of self-entitled, enraged white people.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:29 AM
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I don't think I've ever witnessed someone cutting in line. At least not since elementary school.
Sames.

I am almost completely certain that almost every case someone here is describing as someone trying to cut in line was a simple misunderstanding.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:36 AM
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Just as a data point: here in China there is almost no queue ettiquette and people brazenly slide in front of others or just go directly to the head of the line.
Cars will go the wrong way down the road to get ahead of a queue of traffic, and people pile on to trains as other people are trying to get off.

Anyway, the relevance to this thread is that I've had to really adjust my mindset. In my native UK, someone pushing in means they sized you up, think you're a soft-touch and have decided today to be an asshole.
In China, it's just people are focused on themselves and don't know any better. Not that it's OK, but if I got angry every time I would have had a breakdown ten times over.
Plus I reckon most people would struggle to even understand what they did wrong, as pushing is that common.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:11 AM
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What you're up against is that there really is no generally agreed-upon behavior for motorists in pretty much any situation. We all have different notions in our head about what the rules of appropriate road behavior should be.
Exactly. In most traffic circumstances, it is most efficient if everyone just agreed to merge at a single merge point instead of the dozens of merge points that happen when people don’t use the lane to the end. (If the traffic is flowing rather freely, then it usually is better for everyone just to merge in advance.) We’ve been over this a million times, and there’s studies showing this. “Traffic” by Thomas Vanderbilt is one of the more popularly cited books. But rather than continue the discussion here, search the SDMB as it’s been hashed and rehashed.

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Old 02-18-2018, 10:26 AM
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I haven't witnessed any flat-out queue jumping in a long time, but there are other behaviors that I see a lot that annoy me:

One person holding a place in line while their three friends go through the store; and then just as place holder reaches the front they show up with four peoples' worth of goods and since they're "together" they all jump up to where place holder is.

The hedge better: someone is sorta-kinda in line waiting to see which checkout lane is going to move fastest. I've confronted these people to the extent of asking "are you in line here?" and then getting in line either in back of them or not.

The not-exactly-in-line crowd that will suddenly solidify into a line which I am now not in.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:31 AM
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I disagree. The same number of cars must pass through the bottleneck point. The order through the bottleneck should be the order arrived at by those who approach the bottleneck per order of arrival to the overall slowdown of all our cars. That rate through the actual bottleneck will not change by swerving around cars who have already determined the proper open lane. This is instead line jumping and the anonymity afforded by being in a car does not change civil behavior.
Yes, but not pushing a backup miles down the road is worthy in its own right, regardless of the efficiency of traffic flow through the choke point.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:32 AM
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I can foresee I situation where I'd be a line-cutter, sort of.

Around these parts, many people do not know how to wait in a line. Apparently they think it's horribly rude to stand a couple of feet behind the person on line in front of them, so they leave a gap of 20 feet or more*, which invites line-cutters or confused people to edge in ahead of them (and you). This also creates sprawling lines which extend out the door of the establishment and into the cold (in winter). At some point I'm going to respond to egregious offenders by going around them and on up to the front part of the line, while saying "I'll hold your spot for you".

*this is only excusable if there's a privacy issue, like picking up a prescription or waiting to check in at the clinic. You also don't want to breathe down someone's neck while they're making a credit card purchase. But there's no excuse for leaving a huge gap because it supposedly isn't "nice".
  #42  
Old 02-18-2018, 10:56 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug K. View Post
This is one issue that it boggles my mind how so many otherwise intelligent people don't seem to think through. The so-called zipper merge can only work if the cars in both lanes are spaced out as though they were in one line to begin with. And even then at best it will be just slightly slower than if everyone were single file to begin with.
Unless someone can come up with a magic way to create a space between two cars without slowing down everyone behind them.
No, the time is wasted and the queue made longer by pointless bickering. In an even zippering system the cars go, in turn, at a nice pace. A steady drumbeat one after the the other and the optimum speed is maintained. People trying to close-off merging space or fighting to do it too early are not going to be as quick at merging as the "zipper"

Think about it. Everyone merging in turn is absolutely the fastest way of getting all the traffic on the road into one lane whilst minimising the amount of back-up that forms (which can then stretch back to previous junctions with knock-on effects). Plus if you have two equal lanes of traffic anyway there is no "last minute merger" backlash anyway.

Studies have been done, it isn't rocket science.
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  #43  
Old 02-18-2018, 11:21 AM
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Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is online now
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There are strategies that would make traffic flow better if everyone were to follow them. The problem is getting everyone to follow anything. How do you get drivers to, say, perform a zipper merge when so many people can't (or won't) even change lanes properly, or even manage their shopping carts in a grocery store in a sensible way? Any strategy that requires people to pay attention to their surroundings and to sacrifice even a tiny bit of short-term advantage for the good of the whole is likely never to be successfully implemented.
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  #44  
Old 02-18-2018, 11:30 AM
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Yes, but not pushing a backup miles down the road is worthy in its own right, regardless of the efficiency of traffic flow through the choke point.
Every time I come to this issue I find myself rethinking it from the other side.

Right now, I want to ask: Why is it worthy in its own right, if it has no effect on how quickly cars will, on average, make it through the whole mess and past the final choke?
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  #45  
Old 02-18-2018, 11:40 AM
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Rick Kitchen wrote: "Oh, yes. Several years ago, an older woman was standing in line in front of me with a few things in her arms, and when it got to be time for her to be checked out, she called over her husband who was standing in a line with a completely full cart."

Basically, they're waiting in two line simultaneously and checking out on whichever one is quickest. That crap don't fly. People try to estimate the lines by the number of people in them and the fullness of their carts and that kind of behavior really fucks with the system.

As do those jackholes who, at fast food joints, want to pay for two (or more)different orders as separate transactions. (Because they, and all their coworkers, are too stupid to figure out the change otherwise.)
  #46  
Old 02-18-2018, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
*this is only excusable if there's a privacy issue, like picking up a prescription or waiting to check in at the clinic. You also don't want to breathe down someone's neck while they're making a credit card purchase. But there's no excuse for leaving a huge gap because it supposedly isn't "nice".
I see this all the time at the pharmacy and it drives me wild. There is a place set back from the counter marked by a sign and velvet cord (wait here for privacy), and a sign on the floor (wait here for privacy) and people stand 30 feet behind that. Why? The person behind that person is 20 feet back and then the next is 10. It's like some kind of weird math theorem. Just stand where you're told to stand people. It ends up with lines down 3 different aisles because people can't see the lines forming in the other aisles. Stupidity at its finest.

Last edited by Sunny Daze; 02-18-2018 at 12:27 PM.
  #47  
Old 02-18-2018, 02:04 PM
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I also remember when I was stationed in Germany in the 70s, that the Germans never seemed to understand the concept of a "line". It was always a free-for-all. Once I and some friends were waiting to get into a concert and the gates were shut, and the typical German crowd were piled up into a mass mob with no idea of waiting their turn, and suddenly, the people on the outside of the crowd started pushing the crowd, those on the right pushing the crowd to the left, those on the left pushing the crowd to the right, until there was a mass swaying of bodies. I expected somebody to be knocked off their feet and trampled.
  #48  
Old 02-18-2018, 02:28 PM
Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is offline
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I like to walk up to a line and proudly exclaim, "I was here first!" It's a great way to break the tension.
  #49  
Old 02-18-2018, 03:29 PM
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As a helpful insider guide, the lines on the left in the supermarket will be shorter. This rule works nine times out of ten.
  #50  
Old 02-18-2018, 03:57 PM
Anny Middon Anny Middon is offline
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Very occasionally someone at the supermarket will ask if they can get in line ahead of me. (I'm the next to start putting my items on the conveyor. I assume if the line is longer, the person will ask whoever's in the batting box, so to speak.) They always give a reason, and I always let them.

Every time but one the reason given was that they were running late for an appointment or work or picking up their kid or something. Once though the woman said, "Can I get in front of you? I'm handicapped."

I never have figured out why being handicapped means you can't wait another few minutes for someone else to check out.
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