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The QLess Blog

Who's stuck in line with you?

Aug 22 By Alex Bäcker | Categories: Insights

Standing in line is frustrating, and when you’re there, you’re stuck with whomever arrives before you and after you. Sometimes it’s someone that you can commiserate with as you slowly trudge forward. Sometimes it’s a harried parent with a screaming five year old that hasn’t been taught boundaries or public behavior. Sometimes it’s magic that you haven’t torn the place apart with your bare hands.

The Star Tribune in Minnesota has put together their list of who’s in line with you. For me, these folks aren’t so bad. I can put my headphones on and tune them out, so I’m going to add one in that I can’t ignore:

The distancer. The person that can’t seem to understand that their belongings should be considered an extension of the space they take up. You’re at airport security or just waiting to pay for something and the person behind you keeps knocking into you or your things as you move two feet ahead. They’re completely oblivious, but in the 20 minutes you’ve known them, they’ve touched you more than watching Driving Miss Daisy for the 10th time.

Here’s the list from the Star Tribune. See if you can recognize anyone:

The first-nighter. She’s there for the bragging rights. Willing to arrive hours early to be the first to see the blockbuster movie or buy the newest smartphone, never minding that her exclusivity will last only a few hours — until everyone else catches up.

The gapper. Never pays attention to the line moving, so huge gaps form in front of him. Eventually he notices, so he isn’t actually delaying our getting to the front of the line. But he is denying us the opportunity to keep inching forward.

The chatterer. This person decides that we are their new BFF — or will be for the duration of the wait — so they strike up a conversation regardless of whether we show the slightest interest in what they’re saying. (See also “captive audience.”)

The announcer. A variation on the chatterer. This person is convinced that their conversation is so scintillating that it shouldn’t be limited to the people right next to him. So he talks REALLY LOUD, often into a cellphone, which, were we on the other end of the line, we would have muted long ago.

The fumer. She’s under the impression that everyone else is having the time of their lives, so takes having to wait in line as a personal insult. You’ll never convince her otherwise, so the best approach is to agree that the entire world hates her. After listening to her for a while, you will.

The narrator. This purveyor of TMI thinks he’s being helpful by reporting how the line is moving, estimating how long it will take to reach the front and predicting that whatever it is we’re waiting for — the tickets, food-truck special — will be gone by the time we get there.

The undecided. No matter how long she’s had to ponder what she wants to order, she’ll inevitably be dumbfounded when she finally reaches the front of the line and has to make a choice. Her questions only make it worse: “Does the fish taco contain seafood?”

The confused. If there are multiple lines, these unfortunate souls end up in the wrong one. They’ll be in the “pick up here” line instead of “order here,” or go to the will-call window to buy tickets. (We hate to think what happens when they get in the queues outside the restrooms.)

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