No Cutting in Line


And I’m talking about Belgians here, not the unschooled masses in immigrant hell**, where you could safely make the assumption that most of the people around you didn’t even know what deodorant was, let alone how to form a civilized line. I mean, have you ever seen the Grand Bizarre or those street markets in Aladdin? That’s not a lie, that’s how the market places work where many of the immigrants here come from. I never could figure out why people who dealt with so many immigrants ever made the assumption that forming a line was somehow a skill that people were born with rather than a culturally taught behavior.

Especially because Belgians can’t figure out how lines work themselves.
Mostly in grocery stores, it seems, since I’ve never seen this phenomenon anywhere else.

It drives me up a wall because it’s so presumptuous and self entitled and just makes me want to punch the perpetrator in the neck: people who get in line to check out at the grocery store, realize they’ve forgotten something, leave their basket on the floor in line and then expect to get their place back when they return.

Bull. Shit. I say to that crap right there.

If you don’t have the presence of mind to make a shopping list or you’ve realized you’ve forgotten something, you know what? Too damn bad! Take your basket with you (or really, if it’s that heavy that you have to leave it, leave it off to the side so people can file through and buy their food or better yet, if your basked is that heavy, use a cart next time, schmuck).
And if you do leave it in line? Don’t expect me to just stand there like a fool waiting for you to come back to your “saved space.” This isn’t grade school. You can’t be all “ooh, save my space” and then expect a whole line of people to just hang out because oops, you forgot your cantaloupe.

Okay, well apparently you can expect it, but you shouldn’t. You forgot something, sucks to be you, go get it and get in the back of the line. Do not even try to push your way in front of me or demand that I let you go first cause your basket was sitting there unattended. Your basket is not a magical bookmark that saves your place for you.
See this frozen stuff I’m holding? It’s defrosting.
Do you have frozen stuff in your basket? Why no, you don’t. I’m in more of a hurry than you are and look! I brought a list with me so I wouldn’t forget anything.
And if I did?
I’d get it and go to the back of the line.

It could be that I’m the only one who finds these people to be selfish, rude, and self-entitled.
Or maybe it’s just me as a westernized immigrant.

I have no clue.
But this one?
This one falls soundly on the con side of living in Belgium.



**Unfamiliar with Immigrant Hell? It’s a term I coined for the Gent Town Hall’s immigration waiting area. In the first two years of my residency here I had to visit relatively often and in my old blog I had several tales of wrestling to get a number, waking up at 5 am to get in line for when the office opened at 7:30, running circles for paperwork and documents when laws and rules would change with no one knowing or informing me, etc., etc.


7 responses »

  1. “It could be that Iā€™m the only one who finds these people to be selfish, rude, and self-entitled.”

    Kinda of ironic, aren’t these traits usually reserved for us Americans? šŸ™‚ At least the selfish/self-entitled part, I gotta say having been abroad now, I think we’re excessively courteous in the states.

    • We are selfish, rude and self-entitled, but in an entirely different way. When it comes to person to person politeness though, I agree, in the US people are very courteous. My mother in law once said that they were sort of surprised in New York because people were so friendly and open and polite, but in a sincere way. A lot of people over here see that as “fake” but I think they don’t realize that no, most Americans really are much more open and friendly than the norm in Belgium. I can’t say anything about other countries though.

  2. Danes are EXACTLY the same! The shopping basket place holder has always baffled me. Plus they stand so close to you in the checkout queue, it is like they want to stand on top of you, creepy.

  3. Dont expect US immigration to be any easier. Been there done that got the green card. Here they will also purposely make you file forms ($150 each per person) that are useless and dont apply to you then say its your fault they told you the wrong form, so then have to file another $150/person form.

    • I don’t. We’ve already had a clerical hangup on our approved petition that’s costing us like 6 weeks extra waiting time.
      Anyway, my husband will get to wait in those lines. It’s not like he always waitied with me in the Belgian immigration lines.

  4. haha I love your stories, this post cracks me up.

    I seriously not have to deal with shopping cart placeholders much specifically and it would some days amuse me, some days piss off the hell out of me to such a degree I’d walk by it. (ha, I do spend a lot of time abroad remember, so sometimes I pick up some foreign behaviour šŸ˜‰ ).

  5. I was in Aldi’s today, in USA, as I approached the checkout line I noticed a cart in the middle of the check out section, not behind the last man in line. I was unsure if the abandoned cart was a place holder or not. But as I only had 6 items and the abandoned cart was quite full I just got behind the last man in line. (I did not have to move the cart in question as it was about 5 feet away from the line.) After placing my items on the belt a young man came running up and said that he was ahead of me in line. I said that I was sorry and was not aware that the cart was in line, as it was so far away from the line. He then proceeded to insult me, saying that ” Old people could act that way because they are so old” I am a 75 year old woman and usually very considerate of others, I would never dream of leaving my cart to get more groceries. (I also don’t stand around blocking the isles with my cart while searching the shelves or chatting with friends.)

    I’m sorry to say that I replied with more angry words and said that young people could act like that because they were assholes, as he certainly was! (I am so sorry that I responded with angry words and vow never to do that again.) I was looking for vindication when I Googled this blog. Thanks for verbalizing my frustration with rude people, who have no consideration for others. I have never been treated so rudely by someone. Especially someone who shows no regard for others. I guess that I’m lucky, he could have taken a swing at me.

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