March 09, 2006


Dear Person In Line Ahead of Me at My Favorite Purveyor of Burritos the Size of My Head:

In case it's escaped your attention, we are in a restaurant. It is customary, when in an eating establishment such as this, to pay for the food at the time you place your order; hence the cash register in front of you at the ordering counter.

So is it too much to ask that you prepare just a bit in advance for this monetary exchange, instead of acting surprised that the cashier would ring up your order and tell you the total, and then spending 2 entire minutes fumbling around for a wallet, and then another minute trying to figure out if you have cash or if you should use a debit card?

Because I think I can speak for the 20 people in line behind me when I say lunch hour is a finite period of time; namely, ONE HOUR, and we're HUNGRY, and those burritos don't pay for themselves you bonehead and I could be noshing on homemade tortilla chips right now instead of standing behind someone who has no concept of simple economic transactions, no idea about the status of his personal finances, and who apparently also lacks opposable thumbs, if that struggle to remove your wallet from your pants was any indication.

Oh, and ordering a burrito without rice, sour cream or guacamole? Next time, just go to Chick-Fil-A. They do chicken and bread really well, or so I hear.

Yours Truly,
Big Arm Woman

Posted by Big Arm Woman at March 9, 2006 12:15 PM

I always wind up behind someone like that in restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Besides the folks who fumble for cash (often laboriously counting out 20 or 30 pennies fished from an impossibly deep pocket or the bottom of a purse as part of the transaction), I find myself behind people who make out their checks as though there was a penmanship award involved. (C'mon! It's a check---not the Magna Carta!) Even those people who use credit/debit cards, which should be simple, hold up the line interminably. First the card has to clear--an incredibly tedious, mind-numbing journey through eternity, but then they sign the credit card slip as though gravely aware of how posterity is going to view that signature when the silly piece of paper is framed in a gallery somewhere for future generations to ogle enviously. "Ooh, look at how he looped his W!"

Egomaniacs, every one of them. No regard for anyone else.

Posted by: dhanson at March 9, 2006 02:42 PM

I have had the pleasures over the last few years to be behind a couple (older) who had never been to a Subway sammich shop before and were baffled at the idea, another couple in a McDonalds for the very first time and were miffed they couldn't just get a turkey sandwich (I'm not kidding; neither were they) and, most recently, behind a guy in a pizzeria who was, finishing the theme, baffled at that concept as well. He actually asked them what a pepperoni pizza was. When told that it was a pizza with just pepperoni on it, he asked, "What's this stuff, then?" "Cheese."

Posted by: marc at March 9, 2006 03:00 PM

'Slow movers' do things which are perfectly legal or even praiseworthy, but do them in such a way as to achieve the maximum irritation of everyone else.

It's a classic example of passive-aggressive behavior; "You think I'm a nobody, but I'm making you wait!"

Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at March 9, 2006 07:55 PM

As much as I hate anyone dallying in grocery or fast food line-ups, my hub is too much the other way. It's a 20 min. trip into town and on the way he's asking if I've got my post office key, my gas card, my check book, and wallet in readiness. And in a restaurant, indecision, is rewarded by him choosing what I would like to eat. You need to get behind him in a line-up. You'd be so-o-o impressed. :-)

Posted by: Roberta S at March 10, 2006 02:48 AM

In a similar vein: the person who slid in front of me (in a move Jeff Gordon would be proud of) in the 20-items-or-less lane at the local Mart of Wal.

She had 32 items in her cart. (I counted. I am rather Adrian Monk about such things.). She turned to me as I stood there mentally counting, and smiled and said, "Don't worry, honey, I know how to count. I'm just in a REALLY BIG HURRY."

As I stood there with my one item. ONE item.

I am a pathologically nice person so I refrained from saying, "I suppose it's outside the realm of your imagination that other people could be in a really big hurry and are not impressed by your rule-breaking skillz."

Posted by: ricki at March 10, 2006 08:45 AM

Yesterday I had my most recent encounter with the newest sub-class of these rude folks. This version is engaged in a lively conversation on their cell phone during their entire time at the checkout. This means they are switching the phone from hand to hand or hunching over to hold it between shoulder and ear while they devote a tiny corner of their attention to rummaging around for their method of payment, etc. Needless to say this slows things down considerably. This all serves to relay the message "Yes, I'm slow and I'm holding up the line, but to add to how little regard I give to the people behind me, I'm only here physically. My attention is elsewhere. I am making you wait and both you and this place of business are so insignificant that I'm focusing all my energies elsewhere."

Hmm. My second post on this subject. BAW, you have apparently hit one of my more sensitive nerves.

Posted by: dhanson at March 10, 2006 11:25 AM

Not picking on any group but do middle aged women only decide to empty the contents of the change purse when 17 people are in line?

Posted by: jim at March 10, 2006 06:22 PM

In my youth I worked in the local grocery store as a cashier. One day, I kid you not, an old woman came in and paid for several cans of cat food (yes, just like the stereotype) with nothing but pennies. Which she counted out one at a time.

And then there was the time some people drove into the parking lot in a station wagon with a live, full-grown, and rather irate tiger in the back. But that's another story.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 10, 2006 10:45 PM