Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Waiting in Line

Yesterday, I went to the bookstore near my house, knowing they'd probably be having a big after Christmas sale. When I arrived, the place was packed with customers who'd apparently had the same idea I did.

I browsed around and picked out a paperback book and a 2007 calendar. When I went to go pay, I found a long line of people, so I took my place at the end of the line.

I waited quite awhile, as there were only two registers open. Only one line had formed, with the first person in line going to whichever register opened first. As I neared the front of the line, I noticed a man in his early 20s come up and stand next to the first person in line. The man took no notice of him, so I knew they were not together. I had a strong suspicion that he was butting in line and not simply waiting for another person who was in the line.

My suspicions were confirmed when he jackrabbited to the next open register. Either the other people in line were in their own little foggy worlds or they were too wimpy to say something, as none of them spoke up at this blatant move.

I, however, am neither wimpy nor in a fog. I immediately spoke up. "The end up the line is back THERE, buddy," I said, pointing behind me. "Go back there and wait your turn like everyone else."

He gave me a dirty look, but went to the back of the line. What else could he do, now that he had everyone's attention?

This contrasts sharply with something I heard about several years ago. At that time I was working at a plant that was situated near an exit to an Interstate highway. One of my coworkers was going out to the McDonald's across the road for lunch. When he came back from his break, he said to me, "You'll never guess who I just saw at McDonald's!"

"Who?" I asked, totally clueless.

"Jimmy Carter!" he said. "He came in with a couple of Secret Service guys and waited in line like everyone else!"

I believed him because the man that owns the McDonald's stores in my town once worked for Jimmy Carter. Carter was no doubt traveling by car on the Interstate and when he got near our town decided to eat at one of his former employee's restaurants.

Thoughts ?

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