Why do the French like to cut in line?
Wait your turn!
On Sunday we usually go to Le Marché St Aubin, located in the St Aubin neighborhood, of course. It is a fantastic market that focuses on the producers of the food being sold. Half of the market is producers. You are buying directly from the growers of the food or the makers of the food. We have been told it is a little more expensive than other markets but we find the quality superlative. It is such a pleasure to go. BUT what have the French got against lines?
In almost every line we joined for the various stalls the sellers made such a point of directing you how to join the line and in which direction it ran. That’s fine but why doesn’t anyone actually follow it. Everyone lined up fine and then if they had to wait more than 17 seconds they started to push toward the front and the line widened. The French love to cut in line, make a clump rather than a line, and generally act like they are doing nothing special while the whole time they cut ahead of one person at a time until they are at the front of the line.
I’m sorry, but after 8 years teaching children I am an expert at line cutting behaviors. At least my students were anywhere between 7 and 16 years old. It is just not so forgiveable when a 70 year old woman pushes you out of the way and gives you the “I dare you to say anything” look. Don’t worry, I won’t say anything, I’ll just push past you, like you did to me. Oh and I’ll give you the “You think you’re so clever but I saw you” look. The push works well but the look needs a little work. They understand me though.
There is one seller who only sells cheese. It is the best cheese around. There is always a line. If you plan to buy from them you always know you will spend 15 minutes or more in line. Deal with it or don’t try. Here we were in line and this woman cuts right in front of us like she is going to look at the stuff in the stall next to the cheese people. She installs herself and her son at the other booth. They back up precariously as if they are just trying to get around the line. She shrugs her shoulders as if she cannot get by, what are you going to do her shoulders seem to say.
I gave her 30 seconds to finish her scene and then I just backed up into her and acted all surprised and then apologized and said that luckily now she could pass. She knew she was busted but all she could do was take her son and her tail in between her legs and leave. She didn’t even get a closeup.
The strange thing is that the French don’t seem to confront the people who cut the line. They just try to figure out a more clever way to cut themselves. The few times I have actually said something the person looked so startled as if I had done something unthinkable. I looked to the line behind me for support, after all she was cutting in front of them as well, and no one seemed to care. Now I try to do creative things to discourage line cutting instead.