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Line Up For Your Dose Of Instant Karma

, , , , | Right | October 21, 2020

I work at a pharmacy. A few feet back from the pickup counter, there is a yellow line on the floor, marked with large letters instructing customers to wait behind this line until called. There are also large signs on each side of the line with the same instructions. This line exists so that customers picking up medications or receiving consultations at the counter will have some privacy from the customers waiting in line.

Often, people will ignore the yellow line and come up to the counter, and depending on what is happening at the counter, we may have to ask them to step back. I don’t like doing that, because while some customers don’t have a problem with it, some do, and you never know what will set someone off.

I am consulting a customer at the counter. Another customer approaches, stops behind the yellow line, and waits to be called. While he is waiting, a third customer barges up, passes the waiting customer, and stands right next to the customer I am consulting. I mentally brace myself and quickly try to think up the politest way I can tell the impatient customer to step back, when the waiting customer speaks up.

Waiting Customer: “Oh, that’s fine, sir. You can go ahead of me.”

The impatient customer turns around to see the waiting customer giving him both a smile and a glare at the same time.

Impatient Customer: “What? You weren’t in line. If you were in line you should have moved up!”

Waiting Customer: “You’re right, sir, what was I thinking? I’ll move up as far as I’m supposed to.”

The waiting customer very deliberately looks down at the yellow line, and then back up to the impatient customer, maintaining eye contact. He raises his foot dramatically and takes a tiny step forward so his toes are on the line. The impatient customer reads the line and the signs, blushes, and moves back behind the waiting customer.

Impatient Customer: “Oh, fine, you go first.”

Waiting Customer: “Oh, thank you, sir. That’s very kind of you.”

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