Using your child as a pawn in your schemes to get ahead (in line). OK or no?

I went into the bank today, and I had to fill out a deposit slip before getting in line (my bank is laid out such that the tables with pens and documents are situated separately from the line. I know some banks have the tables in the line, this is not such a bank)

There was a woman next to me doing the same, and I finished before her and got in line. Then a few moments later she finishes, squeezes past me saying “excuse me”, and gets in line in front of me - next to a 12-13ish year old girl which I would presume is her daughter. Although I didn’t pay her any attention until now, I realize the girl was just standing there alone “holding” the spot in line for her mother. “Shady lady, tricky tricky” I think.

I don’t comment on this because I don’t want to get into an argument with the mother in front of the child, and it’s really not worth it over a spot in a line which is moving fast enough anyway. But I did feel a bit sleighted at the principle of the matter. It’s pretty safe to assume the girl did not have any business of her own in the bank, and the woman was merely taking advantage of having her child with her and using her for her own ends.

So what do you think Dopers? Is the lady a bitch for using her child this way or is that a fair play?

What you describe wouldn’t bother me, nor does it sound like using the kid as a pawn. It would be different if the mother pretended that the child was ill so as to play on your sympathies, but all she did was use the kid as a marker; people do that for their friends all the time.

Yeah, and I find that annoying as well. Once I was in Starbucks, and the line was pretty long already, then not one, not two, but three ladies came in succession to meet their friend who happened to be standing right in front of me in line, then they all took turns ordering their respective drinks.

Like Skald said, it isn’t really child-related. My husband always asks me to do that. I used to refuse on the grounds that it was somehow unethical, but then I noticed that everyone does it and no one minds - so I go along with it now.

Well, in that case it’s annoying because then they’ve basically cut. But in this case, the girl didn’t have any business herself, so it’s not like you’re waiting for two extra people. I don’t see how the girl is a “pawn,” though–if my friend holds my place in line while I go fill out my deposit slips, is that okay?

That’s a different matter, that is. The little girl you mention in your OP was presumably not doing business at the bank herself; you suffered no delay in getting your service because of her mother’s joining her in the line. Contrariwise, the women at 'Bucks did cause a delay they were not entitled to cause.

Unless they conducted separate transactions, it’s not as though you were once place further back in the line than when you started. I say it’s not a big deal. I probably wouldn’t do it myself, but if you’re in a hurry and there are two of you, why not get one to jump in line while the other fills in the paperwork to speed things along?

It would bother me on two levels: one, she’s using her child (like you say, a kid has no business to take care of in a bank), and two, she was using her child as a way around her lack of preparedness.

My feeling is you should have your paperwork in order before you set foot in line. Otherwise, you wind up wasting your time, the teller’s time, and the time of people behind you when you finally write up your slips at the window. This lady didn’t do that, but she did stick her kid in line so she could have time to do her slips but also avoid waiting. She wouldn’t have to resort to that if she just had her papers together in the first place.

And on a third level, I hate it because if you say something, you look petty.

Well it somehow seems unfair to get a free placeholder like that even if I was there first, but because I’m alone, I don’t get that privilege. Could I bring in an inflatable blow-up doll to use as my placeholder while I fill out my deposit slips?

Would you have been annoyed if you saw the mom grab a deposit slip (while you were filling one out), get in line, and fill out said slip on a clipboard while waiting in line?

If no, then don’t get annoyed by the above story.

If yes, well, I don’t know what to say. Doesn’t seem like any deal (let alone a big one) to me.

No, but what’s stopping you from bringing a friend along and asking them to hold your place while you fill out your slip?

Wouldn’t bother me. When you got in line, you probably thought, “There are X number of people ahead of me.” The mom stepping in to complete a transaction instead of the daughter didn’t increase your wait time.

OTH, if the mom had been standing there the whole time and waited until she got to the front of the line to pull out her checkbook, make out the deposit slip, etc., etc., etc., that would have pissed me off.

If that five minutes you might have gained if the daughter hadn’t been the placeholder was so critical, maybe you should have set out for the bank earlier. :wink:

To be clear, I don’t think it’s a Big Deal, and as I indicated in the OP I didn’t comment on it. I think of this as more of a philosophical exercise. (it might be a big deal if there were several people doing the same thing, and the line was long and slow-moving, yeah then I would comment)

It’s ok, that’s what society wants, so you just have to deal.

As long as your doll is anatomically correct (and clothed) and can move along in the line by her/himself*, then yeah, sounds fair.

Ya thinking about it? :stuck_out_tongue:
*that’s why some people have spouses

Nothing changed for you. You weren’t any farther back in line, you didn’t have to wait any longer, it didn’t take you any longer to complete your transaction. This isn’t any different for you than if the woman had her slips filled out before you got there, and you wouldn’t have complained about that.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

This incident isn’t that big a deal but I have seen people that in the process of wrangling their small children managed to work their way ahead in a line at the movies.

Suppose the woman had gotten in line right away and sent her daughter to fill out the slip and bring it to her. Is it now okay because the person with business to transact is the one in line? What if she’s there with her husband instead of her child, and he holds the place in line? Is that better? Frankly, I fail to see how it’s different, or how there’s anything wrong with any of these scenarios. But mostly, I wonder why anyone who’s concerned to any degree about place in line doesn’t grab a slip and head straight to the line, filling it out while standing there.

Everyone seems to think he doesn’t have any longer to wait in line. I disagree. He probably figured the 12 year old girl belonged to someone else in line, not that she was there to do her own business. The line has now increased +1 transaction in his head.

With all due respect, so what?