questionsare you obligated to say "yes" if someone asks to…


Heck no! They can wait just like you did.

If you want to be kind you can ask them if they would like to cut, but to me it's rude to ask if you, yourself, can cut.


Once my stuff is on the conveyor belt, I'm next. Even more so if there are self checkout lines.

Before I am next, I'll let a person with only one or two items go in front of me most of the time.


The important word is "OBLIGATED"

...but I always do as a is amazing how many times someone asks if I want to go before them when I have only 1 item. The smallest inconvenience for me may really make someone else's day. In the long run, how much does it hurt you?


@morriea: The difference between your scenario and the question is the simple point of who's asking... Personally, I think it's rude to ask someone if you can cut in front of them. To add to the point, they didn't want to use self check (probably because they figured they could cut) and they are asking a mother of a 2 year old that is getting restless, I think it's completely rude and self-centered.


Not obligated, but if the person has a good reason then I would let them. I only ask when there's a solid reason why and I give it (like perishables cooking in the car from a previous trip through the line and I am back buying something I forgot). I also only ask if I have only one item and I am paying cash. I have been invited to go first many, many times. I am one of those shoppers who usually only has one or two things to buy and people are often generous and invite me to go ahead of them. I'm also friendly and polite and that gets me lots of advantages. I try to let others in when I see someone with only a couple of items that looks like they are in a hurry.


Not at all. You're not obligated to do anything like that. You might be a bit compelled if the guy is older, hurt, or disabled in a way that makes the waiting hard on him, but from the tone of the writing, it seems like the guy was just wanting to get out fast, so no, you shouldn't have to give your place up or even feel bad if you didn't.


@jsoko: I did not give a scenario, so I am unsure what you mean by the difference between them....I agree it is rude. the question is "are you obligated"...I said no.


The fact that he asked to jump ahead is pretty bold. I've never had that happen before but if someone asked I'd probably say no. It just seems like bad form to ask to cut in line.

I've offered to let people jump ahead many times but I don't feel it is an obligation.

Ultimately I agree with baqui63. Once my stuff is on the belt, I'm next.


The baby gives you an out. Babies are fussy and every second counts when you're trying to prevent an infant breakdown.

If there's no express line or self checkout, then yes, it's rude to ask. If there is no express line nor self checkout, and you don't have any pressing reason to lose 2 minutes, it's nice to offer the person with 1 item a "pass."



I don't understand why simply asking is rude: "Excuse me, I only have two items. Would you mind if I checked out before you"? It would be rude to call you names under his breath if you said no, though! ;-)

I really hope the guy with the peanut butter and box of Cheerios behind my full cart will ask me, if I don't notice him first. Also, while babies and melting ice cream are compelling reasons to be in a hurry, people may have other reasons that are less visible but no less compelling.


@ginawoot: I agree. If you're in a legitimate hurry, I don't see any reason why you couldn't ask...though it does come across as presumptuous, perhaps. If someone asked me, I would only say no if I wanted to entertain myself. Otherwise, what's waiting an extra minute. If that's the worst thing that happened to me that day, I think I'm doing OK.


Obligated? Hell no. But it's all circumstantial. Was he pregnant? Elderly? On crutches? Have one item? If not, ask him why his time is more valuable then yours.


The only reason I would feel compelled to say yes is what @justagigilo85 said. If there was some physical reason for him to want to get through the line quickly, I would do so, otherwise he can wait just like everyone else. If another minute or two would have clearly caused him pain or severe discomfort, then I'd happily step aside.


Not at all. I don't let people cut in front of me in any line. I've been in the grocery line and someone does the "I only have a few items" thing. I said "Great, and my time is worth money. Give me $20 and you can go ahead." They moved on to another line.


If someone is polite about it I would have to let them cut. In no way are you obligated. I agree with the other comments, if your stuff is on the belt than it's your turn.
On a side note I wish I had the nerve to ask to cut in front of someone with a 2-year-old child in their cart. I also wish I bucked-up and ignored the HOV lane restrictions. How much smoother the morning would start out! :)


I have on rare occasion been the person asking and the only time I have done so was when I was in a legitimate hurry and only had a couple items. I would also say why I was asking. (Usually because I had to get back to work.) Typically I will also offer to let a person who only has a couple items go before me if I have a cart load of stuff and I'm in no particular hurry. (Which is fairly frequently.)


I have frequently let people go ahead of me, and frequently had people offer. I've also had checkout people wave me to the express lane if there's no line and I have a couple more than the 8 items, all of which is lovely, polite, and generous.

But I think this person violated politeness by 1) asking to go ahead, and 2) asking a mother of a toddler. Unless he was physically disabled or had another majorly extenuating circumstance that he told you about, "I'm so sorry, can I go before you? My wife's in labor in the car and is craving this ice cream", it's rude to ask to go in front of people, and it's insensitive to make a parent with a toddler be in the store for any longer than absolutely necessary.

Now, as the mom of older kids, I usually let people go ahead of me, as I'm out on my own without kids if I'm at the grocery store. I'm rarely in a big hurry!


I'd invite all the people who think it is not rude to ask to cut in line first to phrase their question in a more truthful way next time and see how many times they get let in.

The lying way:

I only have a couple items and I'm in a real hurry because (insert BS reason here) so would you mind if I cut.

The truthful way:

Excuse me, I am self centered and even though we are both human beings with busy lives and have things to do and places to be, I feel that I am infinitely more important to this world than you are so the mere fact that you plan ahead and try to buy all of your items in one trip and have a cartful of groceries instead of being cool and making many last minute trips like me, is a huge inconvienance for somebody as important as myself. Then for you to not just offer to let me ahead even though you see how cool and important I am is just disrespectful to somebody as great as me so now now I have to spend even more of my precious time asking is an abomination.Step Aside!


As the way you set it up, I'd tell him to get bent.

I have been surprised at the number of times people have offered to let me go ahead of them when I only have one or two things and they have two carts. But I have never asked (and won't). It is the unmistakable sign of anti social personality tratis (aka asshole).


As a couple have mentioned, if someone has just a couple items, and I have a 5 minutes worth, I will ask them if they would like to go ahead of me.

Now, this is from the different perspective. If I have the few items, I will not ask to go ahead of the person. They were in line before me, thus they check out before me. Now, if they offer to let me go ahead of them, I will thank them and step ahead.

I do not believe that they "deserve" or are "obligated" to go ahead of you. If you don't want to have to wait in line, go to the store during down times.


Just remember, you're letting them cut in front of anyone behind you as well. If he has EVERYONE'S permission, then I might let them. If it's a movie or ride or something I don't. At the store, if they only have a couple items, I offer. I've never actually had someone ask me.


I waited, you can also wait. :P

This does however remind me of the amusing time I was at the post office and got into one of those passive aggressive polite wars (as you do in Seattle) with the whole "oh no, you were first" "no, really, you got here seconds before me", etc. thing. No particular one of us had huge amount of packages and it would have made no difference who was first with multiple clerks working, yet we did it anyway.


@inkycatz: I have had that happen in a case where a guy arrived at the door first and, being a gentleman, held the door for me to go in. So he arrived ahead of me but entered after. When there's a line I always feel like it's wrong for the guy to be punished for being a gentleman, so I will invite him to take his rightful place in the line, but of course being a gentleman he will usually refuse. I find the "gentleman" dynamic to be particularly interesting to watch at elevators. The general practical rule for elevators is that those on the elevator disembark first, then those waiting board the empty car. But when there are a bunch of women waiting and a car full of men arrives, we run into this "ladies first" rules conflict, and sometimes you can just see the guys' opposing social expectations having a head-on collision.


There is never an obligation, though the situation determines whether this courtesy will become a further inconvenience to you.

At a grocery store, a person with relatively few items might get a pass with me.

At sporting and music events, it depends on what's being offered and who's asking. A young kid wanting an autograph from his favorite player? Sure. A guy two-drinks-into-the-second-inning who suddenly realizes he wants pretzels? No.

At a convention. No. No, and tell them to get out. No, and report their hides if they do it anyway. In most cases, it's explicitly listed in the convention rules as grounds to get booted. Otakon 2011, my wife and I got separated prior to a popular film screening. I got in line ahead of her, but instead of having her come up to me, I let the line flow around me until she caught up to me. We were among the last rows seated. The rest got cut off. True story.


I asked to cut in line at a RedBox once.
It was nearing 9pm and my disc was due (as well as several others behind me), so I politely asked the lady in front who was browsing movies if I could just pop the disc in real quick. She got chuffed and dressed me down before storming off.
I saved a dollar though.

To the OP; You have no obligation whatsoever, but since you didn't indicate mitigating circumstances, I can't say if you should or should not have let the beglassed fellow through.

Also, I'm amused that people assumed the OP is a lady because I pictured a gent in that role.

j5 j5

@j5: I've done the exact same thing at the RedBox. I almost always browse/reserve online yet often find myself stuck behind someone who's taking 5 - 10 minutes browsing at the kiosk before making up their mind.

The one time I did ask to cut, the couple in front of me were very gracious and my speaking up actually made them realize there was nothing they wanted so they just left.


Not only do I say yes, I ask them if they would also like my wallet and shoes.

I'm a little bit of a pushover.


so suspenseful! what did @eepeep say? tune in next week on All My Wootness!.

After the commercials it's As The Woot Turns where we find @inkycatz and @permberducky polite-arguing at a Seattle gas station:

- Hey you can go first. I saw you pull in before me.
- No, you can go head. I have to grab a Tom's soda inside.
- Oh I was going in anyway. I'll grab you one, is root beer ok?
- Yes! How did you know? Here's some money. And your feet look uncomfortable, would you like to borrow my new gel shapers?
- Oh I couldn't possibly, but those look comfy. Perhaps just for a minute.


When I was about 10 years old, I was waiting at a barber shop with two friends. The place was pretty full and I had rushed right after school (without going home first to get a snack) because I had anticipated that it would be full. I was waiting for as long as it took to read all of the shops comic books (at least an hour) when a man walked in, sat down next to us and shortly thereafter, started talking to my friends and me.
"Where do you go to you like it there...what are you learning...etc". He said that he was a teacher at a different school.

After about a few minutes he asked if he could cut in front of us. My friends said yes reluctantly, but I saw through his act and said. "No. I have been waiting here for over an hour and am not giving up my spot."
He got all huffy and said, "Well, the student at my school have more respect!" to which I relied, "The students at your school are idiots."

He got up and sat on the other side of the shop.


@w00tgurl: This is exactly how it happens.



@pemberducky: Oh!
sure thing
looks around nervously
leaves town

j5 j5


A few points of clarification before I post my response:

1) The guy behind me was 45-50 years old. Picture the type of guy with dark sunglasses, beard, long hair, but balding on top. 5'8" tall and able to walk perfectly. He was creepily grinning at my kid when my son tried to grab candy from the aisle.

2) I'm a 40 year old guy (not a mom :P ).

3) It was 6:00 PM, and the store was busy because that's the time when people get off of work to buy food for dinner. There were 8 checkout lanes, 1 express lane & 4 self-service stations. At the time, only 1 checkout lane was open (where all the people with the big carts were), and all 4 self-service stations were open.

If he were a kid, elderly person or woman, I would have said yes.
...but because my stuff was already unloaded, and he was a perfectly healthy guy, who just seemed too lazy to get in the self-checkout lane, I told him "Sorry, I can't help you." and proceeded to get rung up. I figured he could wait.


@eepeep: agree with ya. I'm more apt to offer than have him ask. If you ask it seems more rude than having it offered. Besides who's in that big of a rush that you can't wait another minute...

unless it is one of those rough nights. Like the time I was behind the woman w/ a bottle of jack daniels, a chocolate bar & a box of tampons. She got a nice 6 foot clearance from me.