The one about The Single File

Generally, I dislike it when people cut the line. However, I am not going to play the saint- I’ve done it before. Like in undergrad while queuing up for free food and it’s a long line and I have class in 5 minutes and miraculously, I spot someone I know close to the front… Answered prayer, or nah?

I am also considerate, usually, when other people do the same and cut in front of me. It’s free food anyway– let’s spread the love.

So can we all agree that sometimes it is acceptable [ish]?

Now the manner in which some people do it sometimes is the more annoying part. Like, I know you are cutting the line, you know you are as well- why try to be extra and either or simultaneously:

  1. Try to pretend you are not cutting the line
  2. Frown your face like someone has offended you, meanwhile you are the one in the wrong

While I was in Peru, I noticed (and experienced) a lot of line cutting. So much so that I started to think it was part of the culture because no one ever batted (or bat?) an eyelid! I tried to make eye contact with people around me like ‘yo, did you see what just happened?’ but everyone always had a neutral expression on their face. I started to think I was the one who had a problem.

It really ticked me off but I just had to keep cool. Until one day when I couldn’t take it any more. It was my last day in Peru and I was in the airport about to check in. I was at the end of the line when a guy and a lady came with a trolley full of stuff. They got their stuff offloaded and even said ‘excuse me’ when their luggage hit me. So clearly, they met me there.

Next thing I knew, whenever the line moved forward, the guy started to move forward and he was suddenly beside me. I looked at him- he didn’t make eye contact. I kept quiet. The line moved again, I moved forward, he moved as well- still beside me. So many thoughts kept running through my head:

  1. Maybe he is trying to conserve space so the line isn’t going out the door
  2. Maybe he forgot he is behind me
  3. Maybe he thinks sideways is the same thing as behind
  4. Maybe he is trying to cut the line
  5. Maybe he isn’t trying to cut the line. Who does that??
  6. Maybe he truly thinks he is ahead of me (giving him the benefit of the doubt)

Finally, I had to say something. But I couldn’t tell if he spoke English- one shouldn’t assume. So I started with “Do you speak English?”. He said yes. So I said “do you know I am ahead of you?”. He said “Oh no, I didn’t realize, I’m sorry. Please go ahead”. BS! I could tell he knew and he was trying to play a fast one.

Anyway, I felt victorious. After 10 days of people constantly cutting in front of me, I finally got the courage to call someone out on the last day!! Be warned: [solo] travel might do this to you- give you ‘wings’, as the seniors in secondary school would say.

I guess I should be grateful that was how it went down. It could have been much worse. He could have turned around and accused me of cutting the line or just ignored me (which would have really fueled my anger).

He kind of got the last laugh though, because he ended up checking in at about the same time as I did. The lady he was with joined another line (maybe trying to play the system and see who got to the front first??) – the business class line (which by the way, they played the business class card the entire time all the way to the US- like when our flight got delayed in Cusco and when our bags never showed up in Lima).

Still, I stood up for myself.

*pats self on back*

Today, someone at Panera tried to start that sideways line mess with me and I gave them the side eye, lol. It reminded me of this incident in Peru and I decided to write a short blog post about it. Thankfully, that was the extent of the attempted line cutting at Panera and I didn’t have to say one word to them.

It’s like some people do not understand the concept of a single file. smh.


What are your views on line cutting?? ok with it? not ok with it but will let it slide? not ok with it and will surely call the person out? Let me know in the comments section below or any experiences you’ve had with it 🙂

Have a great [line cutting free] weekend folks, and yea- happy inauguration day to the folks in ‘merica 😐


Header Photo: A street in the Barranco district of Lima, Peru. Photo by O Thomas, November 2016.


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