Tales of Temerity and Terror From The Front Lines of My Life

By | November 27, 2018

In my mind, the only good lineup is no lineup. Give me a checkout counter with no customers and I am one happy camper. In and out fast with no surprises. That’s my goal. But how often does that happen? Not enough, I say. So I have become very skilled at assessing lineups, which you must understand are never what they seem.

A short line looks tempting. But beware this temptress. Even a line of just three people might contain a Jumper, a No Limits or, God help me, a Placeholder working in cahoots with a Runner. I fear them all because I have seen what they can do. They are merciless line wreckers who regularly sacrifice the needs of the many for the needs of the one, even if that leads to the ultimate disaster: a Line Freeze.

Everything gets even more complicated when you take into consideration the pros and cons of the cashier handling the checkout counter. I look for conveyor-belt veterans who never have to ask for a price check (disaster) because they know what everything costs, including the critically important Daily Deals. But here, too, there is danger. Because you never know when that wonderful, experienced cashier will be replaced by an inexperienced Nubie, at which point everything changes for the worse.

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Time of day matters. There seems to be less chaos in the morning, more in the evening, perhaps because people are more inclined to break rules and flout conventions at the end of a long, tiring work day.

Income status does not matter, although my guess is that people of humble means are less prone to violate lineup etiquette than rich folk, particularly those who have already decided that the world revolves around them. The world would be a better place if they knew — and followed — the dos and don’ts of lining up, which go something like this:

1. Your place in a line is determined by the time of your arrival, not by your status in life.

2. If you opt to leave a line to get a better spot in another line (Jumper), you forfeit the right to return to your original line.

3. You cannot employ\retain\associate with a Runner, defined as an unidentified third party who shops for you while you are in line and adds those items to your cart just before your order is processed. Curse you!

4. You will not choose unpriced items, claim to know the actual price at the checkout, and then feign surprise when the real price is higher than what you claimed.

5. You will not attempt to use coupons you know have expired.

6. You will not freeze a line by trying to ram through a purchase that clearly violates purchase limits.

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