Cutting in Line

September 21, 2006 at 9:25 pm 70 comments

Imagine yourself waiting in line (queue, if you’re British) and someone cuts in front. This obviously upsets and frustrates you. Why should they be in front when you’ve been waiting longer? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this line jumper?

It’s not just the loss of time and position that are upsetting, but also the violation of a social structure.

A study was done to determine how often, and which people would object to this. When a person intruded into a line, this resulted in an objection 54% of the time. However, when 2 people intruded at once, there were objections 91.3%. The figure shows that 73.3% of objections came from people behind the intruder, and the person directly behind the point of intrusion objected most frequently.

Additional experimenters were brought in to join the line legitimately with instructions to do nothing but stand in line. When the intruder entered the line directly in front of the passive experimenter, there were only objections 25% of the time. When the intruder entered the line in front of two passive experimenters, objections dropped to 5%. These passive line standers significantly influenced how often someone objected to the line jumping.

Then the question is why did a person’s relative position to the intruder affect whether or not they objected? Since everyone behind the intruder incurs the same cost, the objections should be uniformly distributed among the people in line.

There are 3 reasons that may explain this.

  1. They have to notice it. Those closer to the intrusion will be more likely to see it.
  2. They have to be aware that this is line jumping and not the more legitimate practice of “placekeeping”. Those further from the intrusion point may not be sure so they will be more hesitant to object.
  3. Those directly behind the intruder are socially regarded as more responsible for that spot. If everyone defended the space in front of them, line jumping would not be a problem. Hence, it’s their duty to object to those to who jump directly ahead of them.

I also hypothesize another factor is the relative cost to person in line. Those in the back are delayed only a small percentage of their time in line, while the person in front may have to wait twice as long.

So the next time you’re thinking of cutting in line, be aware that it’s about a coin toss whether or not you’ll be ousted, and most likely it’ll be by the person you’re directly stepping in front of. Never line jump at the same time another person is, even though it might seem like you have safety in numbers, it works in the exact opposite way. And lastly, ideally cut in front of someone who is unlikely to object, because your chances of being challenged greatly diminish the more passive people there are directly behind you.

Stanley Milgram is one of my favorite scientists. Psychology students may have learned of the Milgram experiment where subjects were asked to administer electric shocks to others. He also founded “six degrees of separation”, the concept of “familiar strangers”, and wrote about the woman murdered on the streets of New York with 38 onlookers.

I enjoy both classic publications as well as new research, so I’ll try to alternate between the classic and the new in my posts.

Milgram, S., Libety, H. J., Toledo, R, & Wackenhut, J. (1986). Response to Intrusion Into Waiting Lines. Journal of Personality of Social Psychology, 51(4), 683-689.

Entry filed under: Line, Sociology.

Massive Multiplayer Online Games as “Third Places” “Just Kidding” Falls on Deaf Ears

70 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Keiser  |  September 22, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    One way to decide whether the objectors are just responding to immediacy or whether they are really the Guardians of the Line and looking out for others, would be to measure the size of the line behind the interjector. If objections from the person directly behind increase, then that probably shows that the objectors are trying to get the most benefit for the most people. I bet you’d also get a higher percentage of people objecting from 2, 3 spots behind if, for example, you were at a 60-70 person line for a concert or amusement park.

  • 2. dmg  |  September 22, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    you neglect the most important point. if the person directly behind the cutter doesn’t object, this often means he KNOWS the cutter, and this often means he was HOLDING the space in line. For example, say you’re at the movies and one person parks the car while the other person waits in line. This is much more acceptable to most people than if someone just wantonly cuts in front of you (justifiably or not). I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the PRIMARY factor in these results.

  • 3. Sean  |  September 22, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    I cut in line to lunch every day at my high school. I cut in near the door, even when the line is huge. I have never been kick out of the line.

  • 4. Not Sean  |  September 22, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    Yeah good example sean. Idiot.

  • 5. Danny B  |  September 23, 2006 at 12:09 am

    I’ve experimented with cutting many times at disneyland, and the best way I’ve seen to do it, and not mentioned here, is as follows….

    The people you cut in front of aren’t going to like it, so be sure as few as possible are paying attn. Do your cut wherever you want, then immediately say “oh, I’m sorry, why don’t you go ahead, I could swear my friend/wife/pal was right here…”. By letting that person pass, they forget all about your intrusion. Then, let a few people pass… as many as you think saw you cut. If you started a conversation with the person you cut in front of, you can probably get away with letting only 5-10 people pass you before you cut back into line saying, “well.. I guess he’s not going to show up, so I’ll just jump back into the line..”

    The people you eventually cut in front of will think that you’ve just given up your space in line “up there”, so jumping in won’t be an issue.

    Works great just about every time. :)

  • 6. tugger  |  September 23, 2006 at 12:26 am

    In France, queue jumping is almost a national sport. Almost always a male, and they will completely disregard your complaining. They simply think the rules do not apply to them. One time I was on a Paris bus, I offered my seat to a pregnant lady, and before she could move a French guy hopped into my seat, and would not be moved..
    Us brits hate queuing, so more often than not we’ll start chatting to the people in front and behind to complain about the queue. If someone then tries to “line jump” at least the people nearby will help you eject them.
    What happens if the person line jumping is a highly attractive member of the opposite sex..??

  • 7. Stranger  |  September 23, 2006 at 12:29 am

    Hahaha, Danny B. I use this all time. Fantastic! I thought I was the only one. You’re right. It works all the time. I even tried it three days ago and still works a treat.

  • 8. sl4sp  |  September 23, 2006 at 12:43 am

    Definately Valuable Knowledge lol.


  • 9. Rishi  |  September 23, 2006 at 1:54 am

    That’s not realy correct. Imagine a person standing at 20th position and somebody jumping into line in front of him. That person will be 21st position and In percentage terms will be only 5% further from the start then before.

  • 10. mori motonari  |  September 23, 2006 at 2:07 am

    How about when you cut into one of those fabric stripped lines with metal stands. If you happen to cut in front of one of those, and the same time some people walk to the end of the stripped lines, are the people who just walked in the same time going to say anything to the guy who just walked to the middle of the line? Well, if the guy who walked into the back of the line, sees the guy who just cut into the beginning of the line and thinks is not as rich or sophisticated or riding in first class will threaten to call security to the guy who just cut in, even though the guy who just cut in, did so because he had to carry 2 of his own suitcases plus his mothers who is a senior and has a hard time walking. The first class rich guy is a no good son of a bitch, if I ever see him again, and he tries to pull of his “I will tattle to the security, I will bitch slap you so hard man, I still hate you and if I ever see you again, you will be bitch slapped so hard up side your head, they will have to carry you out on a stretcher.

  • 11. alqatn  |  September 23, 2006 at 6:49 am

    Very interesting! Here, there’s no real order about making lines – except, always the women are allowed to be the first. So, the more the women, the longer one has to wait in line.

  • 12. reinkefj  |  September 23, 2006 at 7:45 am

    I hate lines! I blame the designer. It should be necessary to have a line. If the service provider staffed properly there should never be a line.

    BUT, if there is a line, it should not be possible to jump in front. It should be structurally impossible. Concert goers wrist bands, a doctor’s office sign in sheets, and numbers at a deli all come to mind.

    If as a designer or service provider, if you are so inept as to be unable to figure this out, then I ask what else have you done that impacts me, that I can’t see. I’m probably being hurt even worse!

    Supermarket lines are the worst I ALWAYS seem to guess wrong!

    Ferdinand John Reinke
    Kendall Park, NJ 08824
    Webform that creates an urgent email =>
    Web page =>
    My blog =>

  • 13. misslionheart  |  September 23, 2006 at 8:20 am

    I know what you mean. It’s infuriating. I’m English, living in Ireland. I’ve *never* seen queue-jumping here (yet)

  • 14. clubpenguinandpokemonrok123go  |  September 23, 2006 at 8:36 am

    why would ya cut in line?it would just make every1 in back of you ANGRY AND WANT TO PULVARIZE YA!

  • 15. Danny B  |  September 23, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Don’t forget the other common classic move; just take a stroll around the front of the line. Hang out, tie your shoes, look at the programme guide a few times and look confused.

    When the line start moving in, just glide right in.

    Most times, the single line will become two lines right at the door, it then becomes SUPER easy to slide in at that point.

    I don’t see line jumping a purposely disrespectful to those behind, but more like a slap in the fact to those who don’t know how to organize events that create long lines. We’re not cattle, we’re humans. Create reserved seating! Even at a movie theater! Give out 1st come, 1st serve numbers! wristbands… anything!! Why force us all to get there 2hrs early, only to have to stand out in the elements to enjoy the show we all paid so much money for.

    All n all, I do respect other people. If I feel others will be offset because of my antics, I won’t do it. I always open doors for the ladies (and everyone actually), and I’m always happy to give up my seat. However, at 5’7″, I’ve got to get an advantage any way I can to optimize my seating to avoid tall people in front of me. :)

    Take care,

    Danny B

  • 16. silkboard  |  September 23, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Here in India, cutting the line (or jumping the queue) is like a major problem. Single file lines are so rare that I refer to our queues as “springs” – visible lengths are always misleading!

    Anyway. So looks like my guy in this queue story knew your stat – “When a person intruded into a line, this resulted in an objection 54% of the time“.

    If you know you will be successful 46% of the time, then why not try it?

  • 17. williamdeed  |  September 23, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    What a brilliant post.

    I assume that the study was done in the States. It would be great to see what the variations would be from country from country.

    I am also somewhat surprised by the comments left to this post and the enthusiasm shown to queue jumping.

    Queue jumping is a massive social taboo here in the UK.

  • 18. trucex  |  September 23, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    Great article. I enjoyed it. :)

    By the way, regulations (such as lines) are neccesary in a capitalistic nation. If a good isn’t set at its equilibrium price, there is either going to be a shortage or a surplus. Any good that has a shortage must have a way of factoring who will receive those goods.

    Alternatives to standing in a line should be adopted at nearly every business. Many already have been, such as reservation/waiting lists (doctor, restaurant, other goods that have a shortage), scalping, and lotteries.

    Just to throw in my two cents, it would be interesting to run a study on the same subject but with various goods. I’d imagine that goods that have a more severe shortage would be likely to result in much higher objections (directly related). Imagine cutting line at Best Buy trying to buy a new gaming console (cough, xbox 360)…it’s not very likely to work out favorably for the perpetrator. ;)

  • 19. Ched  |  September 23, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    This is a truly brilliant post. Here’s to more effecient line jumping.

  • 20. defrostindoors  |  September 24, 2006 at 12:57 am

    “Don’t forget the other common classic move; just take a stroll around the front of the line. Hang out, tie your shoes, look at the programme guide a few times and look confused.”

    When I was a student, I would often catch buses to visit family in another city. Here, the convention is that you go to the gate where your bus will depart, and form a line. Some placeholding is allowed (i.e. you leave your baggage, mutter something about running to get a drink, then pop out and come back; sometimes you could announce your intentions by asking the next person in line to keep an eye on your stuff for two minutes–ah, small-town Canada is so safe ;)). I would usually get there early enough to be near the front of the line. About 80% of the time, I would notice a middle-aged woman (and sorry, it almost always was a middle-aged or older woman) would arrive later, then sort of hang around the front of the line and try to get on first, with the early arrivals. I would love to know why this particular demographic feels justified in this practice. *fume*

  • 21. Cai  |  September 24, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    I tend to feel that women are far more likely to comment and eject a queue jumper than men. Older people far more likely to complain about younger people. Men least likely to complain about a queue jumping woman. Gender, age, appearance and possible social standing are all factors in determining who succeeds in cutting in.

  • 22. Solo  |  September 25, 2006 at 10:04 am

    I think it was in “Watching the English” that the authoress – an anthropologist studying ‘Englishness’ – found herself requiring a stiff (alcoholic) drink or two before she could bear to personally test the results of queue jumping.
    How I grinned.
    I understand it perfectly and despite acknowledging it’s a silly trait, continue to get annoyed when someone does ‘queue jump’.
    I suspect because within my small World it falls either in (or out) of a matter of ‘respect’ – something I am generally more and more disenchanted by the lack of….

    – Solo.

  • 23. nevins manafe  |  September 26, 2006 at 3:41 am

    try indonesia.. :)

  • 24. Lyrebird  |  September 26, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    Something we see more and more in the US is the “my friend kept my spot technique”. A new person shows up, detects one of his friends in the line and starts a conversation with that friend and becomes part of the line.

    I saw it happening again today. So when the line cutter was ordering his food, I asked the people in front of me: “did that guy just cut in line?”. Both people looked at me miserably and nodded yes.

    So, with a really loud voice I asked “EXCUSE ME SIR, DID YOU JUST CUT IN LINE?”. The reactions were comical. First of all, one of the guys who just confirmed that the line cutter did cut in line shrunk by five inches. He probably expected a fight or something, but it was clear that he did not want to have anything to do with it. The guy who did cut in line realized that what he had done was wrong, and started to apologize. With a tiny voice he said “well, my friend here kept my spot, blah blah blah”. I don’t know why I did not push it a little more, I guess I was just as surprised as anybody else. I probably should have replied something like “oh, your friend KEPT your spot. So you were here before? I did not see you wait in line.”

    I actually felt quite good about myself. I did not solve anything, but at least the guy felt miserable for a couple of minutes (he refused to make eye contact). I doubt he will do this again.

  • 25. marcel  |  September 28, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    please don’t teach us this trickery.

  • 26. Lany  |  September 28, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    They should do this study in China.

  • 27. Queue Roundup « standinaqueue  |  October 20, 2006 at 9:48 am

    […] A very interesting article, I believe American, which analyses the reactions of a queue to queue jumpers. Although I am slightly disheartened from reading the comments to hear how those from our former colonies are so enthusiastic to queue jump. Another example is this post which gives tips of how to pass through the queuing process quicker when enrolling for Sydney University. […]

  • 28. madelynewyear  |  December 27, 2006 at 12:13 am

    Cutting in line, I believe, is a stupid, childish thing to do. Patience should be developed as a youngster, so when you are at the age that people expect more of you, you don’t do things like that. Honestly, if any of you who do this frequently are over the age of ten, think to yourself that this is ALSO how you acted when you were young. It’s time to break dumb habits.

  • 29. Dave  |  December 28, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    While I enjoyed this post, I did feel that there were a few valuable omissions, so I hope no-one minds if I cut in with them…

    (1) It depends on what you are queuing for.

    For example, if you are in line for a supermarket check-out, many people will not really mind if you only have a single item and cash, especially when the line has many large trollies. If you queue for returning goods, the line will be generally more angry and nervous to begin with. Also, if you are queuing for something scarce — tickets, taxis, sales, then be prepared for more of a fight.

    Arguably the best line is the queue for a club, cinema or some official thing, such as at the tax office; there is always the possibility that you know someone special, or have a special pass or permit. Another easy one is airline boarding queues, bus lines, or seat-allocated lines where everyone gets a seat or a specific seat regardless of order of entry.

    In Sweden, I recall, many shops had ticket machines and you went when your number was called. In the UK I have seen the same system — but the numbers were not sequential, so as a result, there was a lot of queue confusion.

    (2) There is a “magic password” for queue-skipping.

    Cialdini et al have shown that you can jump ahead of people merely by saying “Because”. As long as you ask permission and give a reason using the word “because” (strangely the reason given is unimportant), all is well; people respond automatically to this trigger word.

    So all you do is say “Excuse me, but can I skip in ahead of you because I am in a terrible hurry”.

    The trigger word has been used, they have been asked politely and reasonably, and society expects people not to lie, so you must be in a hurry – so much of a hurry that you must break into the line… i.e. it is an emergency! People generally do not want conflict, so to respond with “we’re all in a hurry mate; get to the back of the queue” would seem harsh and unreasonable, and would lead the person to then argue their case with you, giving reasons and creating a “terrible scene”.

    (3) Doing what is right — being seen as a line hero or being seen as argumentative or pedantic. The public shame, loss of face — but also effort and bother… is it worth fighting about?

    Sometimes the public quarrelling is more bother than the delay in letting the person skip in. We all know you have to give up something to get something! The scales are tipped if it happens again — then it really is worthwhile making a scene!

    (4) Things are different depending on appearance. If you are limping, wearing a suit, in a wheelchair, or even if you look strong and threatening, — all of there make a difference to your success in queue jumping.

    (5) Car line jumping has its own techniques: Think: what is the badge, how old is it, does it have bashes all over it? Lady driver? Boy Racer? Baby on Board? Should you let the cyclist in or the bus out? Ambulances and police sirens make cars move out of the way — should you follow in their wake? Use the hard shoulder?

    These are just some of my thoughts to add to the post, perhaps others can comment or add to make the whole enterprise even better informed!

  • 30. JC  |  July 19, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I think it’s a bit different when people at supermarkets are allowed to “cut” when they are only buying one item, and everyone else has cartfuls. Most of the time, it’s the person who is in the middle of putting his/her stuff on the conveyor belt who tells the one-item buyer to go ahead. Or sometimes, the one-item buyer will ask the person if they can go first since they only have one item.

    As far as I can remember (in the U.S. at least), there is usually no one else in line. If there is, the one-item buyer would most likely ask everyone in line if they could go first. It’s highly unlikely that a person near the front would turn back and notice a one-item buyer at the end of the line and wave them up.

  • 31. Fundraising Ideas  |  August 14, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    I agree that the word “because” truly is the magic password for line cutting because it provides a rational loop for an emotional decision-making choice to follow.

    It also works great when you are doing candy fundraising for the same reason.

  • 32. BMW  |  October 7, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    I was thinking about this today, and I thought of a few things, but I dont think they would work all to well.
    First of all, y’know when the line starts moving, and the people ahead of you dont seem to notice, and just stand there? Taking that into consideration, I thought of this. First, you just keep walking ahead, acting like theres someone ahead in line waiting for you. Then, when you reach a group of people who dont seem to notice the line is moving, try and get ahead of them. This most likely wont work because most people arent that thick, but maybe somebody can use this as a reference to a better trick.?

    Another way I thought of will allow you to avoid the lines completely, and is more likely to work. Well, lots of parks have a “Single Riders” line, which is a shorter line you can wait in, and they use the people in this line to fill up any empty spaces.
    For the parks that dont have this option, I thought of just going in through the EXIT, and pretending you left, say, a waterbottle or something like that, then using this time to hop into an empty space. The only problem would be the workers there might get suspicious with you hanging around, and might ask you to leave. So, it might be a good idea to wait around a corner, and when the cars to the rollercoaster (or whatever your trying to sneak on) come back around, just take a peak over, and when you see an empty space, jump in.

  • 33. Ernesto Chavez  |  October 20, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    I cut in line whenever possible. Concerts, at the market, waiting for the train, everwhere. It’s one way to disrupt the capitalist system and bring about an equitable social structure where the most deserving and/or disadvantaged have access to the same benefits as the rich do today. In other words, screw ’em.

  • 34. isthischina  |  January 5, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    (Wow, Ernesto. You’re a socialist hero. Viva el Chavez!) Here in Taiwan, people not only go straight to the front when waiting for a bus or elevator, disregarding anyone who was there first, but quite often, as soon as the doors open, they’ll pile in, pushing back the people already in the bus or elevator so that it becomes a desperate scramble to get out. Call me anal, but after living here for 15 years, I still feel disgusted each time I witness such a debacle.

  • 35. John  |  March 22, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I don’t understand why it is the person behind the line breaker’s responsibility to say something. Although I have called line breakers on it and usually they react aggressively and it escalates into an argument. Why isn’t it the employee (cashier, clerk, checker’s) responsibility to say something. Usually they are considered to have more authority to say something. Therefore, when an employee speaks up it is usually taken better since the line breakers feels the employee has the right to say something to them.

  • 36. Ronald  |  June 1, 2009 at 12:10 am

    People who cut in line should be aked to leave by the management if a customer complains about an alleged cutter. The management should verify from others in line that someone has cut in line and take appropriate action, (throw the cutter out).

  • 37. Hughes  |  August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    People who cut in line should be killed and are.profoundly disturbed. These people are morally reprehensible, disconnected narcissistic unpleasant creatures. Your time means nothing to these people , nor do your feelings or sense of fairness. Beating the crap out of these hard-hearted, foul-mouthed and lame-brained assholes would put the fear of god in them and make them think twice before committing such atrocities in the future.A beating would be sufficiently painful to enforce conformity to the ‘‘appropriate’’
    information processing strategies and consequent behavior. These “Line Cutters” aren’t just without manners, they’re positively animal-like in their incivility. Their behavior is the consequences of unrestrained, amoral capitalism. Nothing I can say seems sufficient regarding the daily suffering that all those innocent people are enduring because of Line Cutters. Yes I have an acute sense of line justice

  • 38. DoctorG  |  September 7, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Hughes, I applaud your aggression towards line cutters. Last night I was waiting in line to enter a crowded restaurant. It was rather slow moving because the bouncer was checking IDs and everyone that was not fortunate enough to leave town was at this restaurant. A couple casually walks up and cuts my friend and I. When we got to the front of the line, I shoved my ID in front of the girl’s to give to the bouncer first. She verbally objected and said ‘Why does it matter’ in regards to her cutting. I must have forgotten that the ape-faced freshman and her vagina-faced boyfriend (he was in desperate need of a good shaving) are so much more important than me and are entitled to cut in front of me. People like this make me wonder why I have devoted the last 5 years of my life preparing for medical school so I can help people, when douchebags like that exist. If they ever end up in my emergency room, in v-fib and hemorrhaging, I’ll tell them that the triage policy does not apply to them and that they should go to the back of the line, behind the kid with a papercut. Wait your turn, ass nuggets.

  • 39. Hughes  |  September 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I was taught to be kind and considerate, to respect other people and their time and efforts. I thought that this was the way society was supposed to work. Granted, I was taught this by way of working at Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s, Charivari and The Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan, but shouldn’t we be civilized about this. This is what kills me about the Conservative nut-bags in this country. In addition to being deeply unpleasant creatures: selfish, judgmental, intolerant, hard-hearted, foul-mouthed and lame-brained.. they aren’t just without manners, they’re positively animal-like in their incivility. Is this the consequences of unrestrained, amoral capitalism? It used to be that a stern look or a stern statement would thwart them, For humans, as well as for other social animals, such treatment was usually sufficiently painful to enforce conformity to the ‘‘appropriate’’ information processing strategies and consequent behavior. But today these people maintain an attitude of ‘‘high indifference.’’ From what I have been told, there remain small pockets of civilization, not so far from Manhattan.

  • 40. DCMAX  |  September 8, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Wow hughes, I never thought line cutting was the basis for a political rant but, hey, if only conservatives are line cutters then it seems you would know best. Im pretty sure line cutting only exists in this country anyway. Hell Ive never seen a rich line cutting democrat, they must not exist. But aside from that I just wanted to say FUCK line cutters! they fucking suck! isent that what this is about? Shit, did I get the wrong room again? like time I was supposed to go to AA and walked into the driving lesson room instead… what a trip….yeah….

  • 41. Karthik  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Kinda late to the party, but the best way to cut a line (by personal experience) is to identify the person with least resistance, cut it in front of him/her, turn back, smile and offer them a spot ahead of you. Works most of the time.

  • 42. Lori  |  December 3, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    So you are standing in line at a calling/viewing at a funeral waiting to pay respect. Would it be appropriate to cut in line ( a very very long line) because you and your friend just get there, and another friend that has been waiting in line for 30 min and wants you to join her when you arrive?
    If you were standing in this long line and two people cut in front of you would it bother you? My friends have been discussing this issue and no one agrees on what is appropriate

  • 43. JoeA  |  April 16, 2010 at 7:25 am

    This has been very useful, I’m writting an essay on line jumping/cheating in life for a class. Thank you for all your comments (even the 4 year old ones :)

  • 44. James  |  May 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    In my school during lunch, it isn’t called a line anymore. It’s called a circle. A big fat circle near the cafeteria. I liked kindergarten better.

  • 45. Fred  |  May 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    There’s this kid at my school whom I see every day at the lunch line and he has this nasty, compulsive habit of line hopping. Today, he cut in front of me, and I let him slide until we reached the front of the lunch line, where I edged back in front of him. As he went on sputtering profanity, my face turned red and I walked away in silence feeling half-guilty and half-victorious.
    I’d really like to know if this was a justified display of social behavior, or if it was overly assertive and a larger failure on my part for having not stopped him earlier. Or am I just thinking too much about cutting in general? Should I be more lax with cutters? And what should I do in a very likely future confrontation?

  • 46. j davies  |  August 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I ALWAYS object and report line jumpers. If I am at an amusement park and get them kicked out so much the better. I always carry mace especially for line jumpers. It is something I won’t tolerate under any circumstances.

  • 47. Fundraising  |  August 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Some people are just rude.

  • 48. gary dean  |  March 19, 2011 at 3:32 am

    i think line cutters should be shot. it is disrespectful and unfair. i carry a cellphone with me so if a line cutter picks a fight with me i,ll use it to call the police or i,ll fight back. with me line cutting is a big nono and if you ever cut in front of me you,ll get a cannon shot response.

  • 49. gary dean  |  March 19, 2011 at 3:34 am

    i think that line cutters should be shot and if anyone cuts in front of me they will get blasted.

  • 50. A Few Interesting Research Questions | Zen Raven  |  July 26, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    […] Cutting in Line […]

  • 51. Easyfundraising fundraising  |  February 2, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Wow So much hate, I dont like line cutter either but there is a bit of a strong opinion in this room i dont like.

  • 52. Hawaiian Style  |  October 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Cutting in line is just a bad example, to me schools should call that ILLEGAL! When people cut in front of me I do something I don’t just stand there doing nothing and let that person cut.

  • 53. Leslie Jean Jones (@LeslieJeanJones)  |  November 8, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Unless I am in an unusual hurry, I make a practice of letting people ahead of me in the grocery store line. Why not make someone else’s day more pleasant for a change?

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  • 55. A Few Interesting Research Questions - Neural Toast  |  May 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

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  • 58. Doyle Scarborough  |  January 29, 2015 at 6:42 am

    It’s tempting to say it’s a needle in a haystack Laila

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  • 64. James E Hughes  |  March 6, 2017 at 5:19 am

    I don’t believe in Capital Punishment but allowing the public to kill line cutters caught in the act would most likely curtail this sociopathic behavior. The added benefit is that by killing these narcissists they will be unable to reproduce and spawn others like themselves. Of course the people involved in the killing can share any assets that they creeps may have accumulated, probably via criminal or immoral activities.

  • 65. smart fashion buying house  |  July 28, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    The people you cut in front of aren’t going to like it, so be sure as few as possible are paying attn. Do your cut wherever you want, then immediately say “oh, I’m sorry, why don’t you go ahead, I could swear my friend/wife/pal was right here…”. By letting that person pass, they forget all about your intrusion. Then, let a few people pass… as many as you think saw you cut. If you started a conversation with the person you cut in front of, you can probably get away with letting only 5-10 people pass you before you cut back into line saying, “well.. I guess he’s not going to show up, so I’ll just jump back into the line.

  • 66. Arnob Endry  |  July 28, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I’d really like to know if this was a justified display of social behavior, or if it was overly assertive and a larger failure on my part for having not stopped him earlier. Or am I just thinking too much about cutting in general? Should I be more lax with cutters? And what should I do in a very likely future confrontation.

  • 67. Line Cutters, The Scourge Of Humanity | The OG  |  May 10, 2018 at 9:39 am

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