« Previous | Main | Next »

March 29, 2004


OK, I have a question, based on something that happened to me yesterday.

I was at a tennis tournament, and I went to get some pizza for my daughter. There were three people ahead of me in line for pizza: a guy at the front of the line, and two women together behind him. So the guy at the front of the line -- we'll call him Guy A -- turns around and sees that he knows the guy behind me -- Guy B -- and tells him to come to the front of the line.

Guy B is reluctant, because he realizes it might be rude. So Guy A says to the women behind him, "Do you mind?" They say no.

I say nothing.

So Guy A says to Guy B, "Come on! They (meaning the two women) don't mind." Then, looking at me, he says: "HE minds, but he's not saying anything." Which was correct: I minded.

So Guy B goes to the front of the line.

My question is: Was this rude? I think it was. I detest people who butt into line because they happen to know somebody near the front. It reminds me of the worst aspects of junior high school. HOWEVER -- and I realize this may be inconsistent on my part -- it doesn't bother me when the people who move up are clearly related to the people in front, and came to the event together. Like, if a guy's in line, and he sees his wife walking by, it's OK for him to bring her up, or ask her is she wants him to get her something.

But to me, moving somebody up just because you know that person is rude to everybody behind you.

Am I right? Or wrong? Or what?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



You're absolutely right Dave. Protocol in this case demands that guy A should have moved BACK in line to spend a little more quality time with friend guy B.

I feel the same way, but I'm not sure I can explain why. I suppose greater latitude is given to families because you expect them to be together. It's not uncommon for one person to hold a spot in a line while other family members take care of other details. It's another thing entirely when two people who are friends just happen to cross paths and take advantage of the situation.

yes SIR

rude. definitely rude.
i say you write a column about it, describing the offender in intricate detail and questioning his manliness.

Yes it's very rude.

Yes, it was wrong, but the real question is - What were you doing at a tennis tournament?

Oh, I learned about dealing with these types of situations in college! Heres what you do:

1. drink a lot
2. throw up on guy A or B (your choice)
3. pass out
4. forget you were ever in a pizza line

Hope I helped!

(Is judi supposed to answer "Yes, sir"? Because, frankly, I don't see that happening...)

(And why do people answer either/or questions with "Yes," anyway?)

Just treat 'em like a Shaolin monk.

You're right. The guy is a jerk. Because I'm skinny and small, I often say nothing. In junior high school I wudda got slugged if I said anything, and old habits die hard. It's like when some other guy on the road does something idiotic. Sure, he's an asshat, and I might honk the horn, but it won't reform him and there are millions more like him, so why stress about it much?

I thought Florida allowed concealed carry - end of both problems (A & B that is).

A few years ago I took a class at the local community center. During a break, the other people in the class went into the staff break room and started eating the food the staff had brought for themselves. I told the staff what was up and they came and told my classmates to stop. The next day they did it again! Didn't anyone ever teach them stealing is wrong?!? They were middle and high school kids, but I worked in a grocery store bakery where none of my adult co-workers had a problem eating things and not paying for them, even when we'd been told specifically we weren't allowed to do that. What is wrong with people?

Guy "A" was definitely rude and could have justly been annointed with mustard in whatever form they had it - pump, squeeze bottle, or plastic packet, but I also like the 'barf on him' approach as well. Maybe both.

I don't think it really matters if the people involved are related or not, but whether there was an arrangement for one of them to wait in line while the other did something else or not. I often go to events with friends, and one of us stands in line for both, and I don't think this is wrong. However, if I'm standing in line for pizza at a tennis tournament, and I happen to see seventeen of my cousins and invite them into line with me--this is rude, even though we're related.

Sure, it's rude, but not nearly as rude as someone talking on a cell phone, cutting their nose hairs, or beating their children while standing in line.
Lighten up, Dave. Relax and smell the pizza.

Dave-you're a celebrity. That means that if anybody's rude to you, you can bitch and moan and violently strike out and get away with it. See Allen Iverson.

just a thought.

You should've said something to the guy. Line violators cannot be tolerated anymore. I think that you should make this a major issue for your presidential campaign.

Dave, this may seem kind of oblique, but I think you have gotten to the crux of the gay marriage debate. It is OK for a man to let his wife cut in line ahead of him and vice versa. It is OK for a man to let his kids cut ahead of him in line. If gay marriage is allowed, then it would be OK for a man to let his husband cut ahead of him. Perhaps Guy A and Guy B were making a political point.


You're right and wrong. It's either all or nothing. How do you know that Guy A WASN'T related (or married for that matter) to Guy B??? And where do you cut off with the "relations"? It's either always okay or always rude.

Dave, his comment about YOU minding, but not saying anything answers the question... he knew he was being rude. My guess is that he was a bully in school, and he still is. His comment was meant to intimidate you, and it worked, you let them get away with it.

Next time, just deck the sucker!

repressed anger, Me? naw......

Other instances where cutting is tolerable:

A line in a restaurant where you will be seated with the person near the front of the line anyway.

Any event where the person near the front is purchasing tickets (general admission is a little iffy, but understandable).

Clubs. Especially if you're a chick.

Yes this is rude but it is done all the time by types who feel they are above waiting in line like the rest of us peons.
When we were first dating, my husband taught me a move called "blending" (we are both short people)where you simply ACT like you're with a certain group and then move with them until someone complains. If nobody complains, then you're successful. I am now a reformed blender and have fun busting people who still do it.

This is rude behaviour, and like all rude behaviour it calls for the judicious use of fire. I say it's okay for you to cut in front of me if, in turn, it's okay for me to blast you with my flamethrower. The same thing goes for people who talk during a movie or put flyers under windshield wipers. Miss Manners would approve - trust me.

Yes, rude, but I'll bet he sized you up first. He wouldn't pull that move on a manly man. What did you expect at a tennis match? You watch a couple of yuppies ping a dainty ball back and forth for hours...heaven forbid you make a sound. If you so much as pass gas, some gloved hulks whisk you to the exit. All this frustration builds up, like um, gas, with no place to express it but in the concession line.

All right, you guessed it - I'm just grumpy that I totally blew the brackets for the Final Four. I had St. Joe's over Oklahoma, so sue me.

wow... looks like Dave struck a nerve here...


That was incredibly rude. He should have stepped back in line to be with his friend or kept his mouth shut.


Dave.. yes it was rude.. but he probably would not have moved ahead of you if you had said something.. It did not have to provoke a fight or anything.. more like "Hey.. he (guy b) is being polite and waiting his turn." This would have reinforced guy B's original thought.. while letting Guy A know he was a jerk for offering.

I guess people will be as rude as other people let them. (been that way since grade school if you ask me..) but if everyone nails them for it, I think they would think twice.

Of course, even asking if you can cut in line is rude. You put the person in a position where it is awkward to decline.

Guy A was definitely rude.

The difference between letting a close relative, like your wife, cut the line is that you are likely to be paying for that close relative/wife's order. The incremental extra time needed to add her food to your order and pay for it is negligible, and in the long run it makes the line as a whole move more quickly. But we all know that Guy A wasn't paying for anyone other than himself, so he inconvenienced you and the two ladies, and there was no benefit to anyone other than his friend.

Guy A was definitely rude, especically considering the "He minds" crack. Guy B was less rude in that he was obviously not comfortable with the situation. I think that The Bob was right in that Guy A was probably a bully in school, and my guess is that Guy B was the type of kid that was just cool enough to hang with the Cool Crowd but was not cool enough to lead, and just sort of went with the flow, even when he wasn't sure that was the right thing to do.

However, guys like them would have a lot more of a problem getting away crap like that if we didn't LET them. I understand that you probably didn't want to get into a fight, but you, as a celebrity, owe it to all us little folks to throw your fame around at times. As long as you don't go too far, cause then it will be some other humor writer down the line taking a crack at your rudeness, and then it all becomes one big mess.

It was pretty good pizza.

What about saving seats at concerts, theatres, etc.? My wife doesn't understand why I object when she says "...I'll be there in a minute, you just go in and don't forget to save seats for my cousin, her friend, her friend's friend, her friend's friend's sister-in-law's uncle's dog...in fact just sit there all by yourself in the middle of the row and don't let anyone else sit in that row at all." I'm sure there are lots of people who don't say anything (like you didn't, and like I never do), but who are looking at me and thinking "What a jerk!"

When I have found myself in like situation, I try to keep my cool and use humor. For instance, in your particular scenario, Dave:

Guy A: "HE minds, but he's not saying anything."

Dave: "And if I DID say something, would it make a difference? I am trying to get pizza for my preschool daughter." (here, Dave whips out photo of Sophie.)

I think that you are correct in saying that direct relatives have precedence over friends or acquaintances.

"The D": great idea. Good stock response to keep in mind, applicable in most situations.

Just to kick up some sand here, because I'm bored:

Would you consider it rude for Guy A to ask his buddies "Hey, anybody want something?" before he leaves, and so he's buying snacks and drinks for 3 or 4 people?

If not, why is it OK for the friend to get refreshments if he asks in advance, but NOT OK if he does it while his buddy is ordering?


There's only two ways of looking at this:
1) Dave, you're a little girlyman wuss, and by your inaction A's b*tch.
2) Dave, your inaction was an unselfish public service on your part in the interest of public safety to let this jerk point himself out as a jerk to others.

I always stick to #2. No transplants, either.

My wife nailed it:

"It's rude because he's adding a transaction. Incremental transaction cost is higher than increasing an order size."

It is rude and the correct response to the situation would have been to closeline Guy B as he passed by.

It's mildly rude to do it without saying anything.
It was very rude to acknowledge your opinion and then do it anyway.

You people are amazing. I mean that in a good way.

I disagree with the 'family' excuse.

I saw a couple split their 6 items between each other then go to separate lines to 'see' which was faster...

Had they been in front of me when they 'rejoined' I would have raised holy heck! Nothing stops idiots like these faster than pointing out to EVERYONE within earshot what they're up to!

(but then again I park in the ’15 minute deli parking’ spot every time I buy groceries...why should small purchases at be rewarded?!)

OK-really random thought. I have a really dirty hat. How should I wash it?

I'm a college dude, please somebody help.

Dave, you're right. It was rude. Line cutting is one of my pet peeves, especially in post offices.

Back when I lived in South Florida, I saw people cut in line all the time, but the thing was, they cut in line, and *they didn't know anyone*. They'd just walk up, say "I have a package I need to get", and the postal clerks would just get them the stuff. There was no "line up here to get a package" line. In all fairness, this guy didn't drive his car through the front window, which by South Florida standards is pretty polite.

One day, I blew a gasket, and told the line cutter to get in line with everyone else. You would have thought I was stamping on puppies and putting babies on pikes for the way people looked at me.

Dave, you know the lines I'm talking about. I moved away from South Florida about 8 years ago, and I was just called up by someone at the DMV saying that my number came up and I'm the next person in line for my Florida driver's license, but I was bumped because someone saw thirty-seven of their best friends at the back of the line.

Stop the madness!


Ok, I have mixed feelings about this. I do think it was rude, but about 2 weeks ago I was on a lunch break from work, they give us 30 minutes. So I decided to run down to Smithfields bar-b-q and order some french fries and a drink (I wasn't that hungry). The place was crowded and there were long lines, I jumped into the back of the line of course. I was waiting and this couple who were in the front of the line said I could hop in front of them since I was on a break and they figured I didn't have much time (which was true). So I did go in front of them, it didn't take me very long to order my food but I wonder how people behind them and I felt.

How would you feel if a person who was on a short break were to cut in front of you when asked by someone else?

Order of precedence (in my opinion) for a food line:
little kids
pregnant women
(This is also true in line at a public restroom or you'll have a mess.)

If you're getting food for your kids, and not crowding the line with more people than are necessary to get the food, this is considerate, is it not?

Guy A, and Guy B for going against his conscience, is bery bery bad man.

Dave, I know you're breathlessly waiting for my opinion before you tabulate the totals ...

The guy's a rude jerk.

However, he probably hasn't spent another minute thinking about this since it happened, whereas you've probably been obsessing about it ever since (I understand, so would I).

Wanna lay odds on who's going to live longer (concealed carry notwithstanding)?

It was rude. It was rude because it ignores your feelings, as if you don't exist. It was rude because a polite person *would not even ask the ladies*. Asking them to acquiesce to this puts them in an unpleasant situation; say yes and wait extra, or say no and appear to be unfriendly.
You don't say how many people were in line, but my thought is: couldn't this guy wait an extra *5 minutes?*

But, and this is key: who cares anymore? Rudeness is so prevalent in our society that I've given up complaining about it. We steal stuff, we're impolite, we act out our anger on the road...

If Florida *does* have a concealed carry law, then I do suggest that you purchase a toy gun (preferably red color, so some off-duty cop doesn't get excited), then the next time someone acts rude, draw it. If the rude person hasn't dropped bricks into his/her pants by that time, squirt them.

Dave, here's the definitive answer:

1) It was more than rude - - - it was dismissive in the extreme. Guy A basically manipulated your considerate silence (he put you in a position where to speak up makes you look small) and pretended that you didn't exist. He knew very well that you DID mind, as he said explicitly subsequently, but he had already decided what he was going to do, so ....

2) seeing how it would all play itself out, here's what you should have done: speak to your "invisible little friend" who happens to be standing just in front of Guy A. Looking at him (and through Guy A) intently, say: "Hey there, Dwight, how's it going?" (pause to let Dwight reply). "Yeah, it's been too long, we've really got to catch up."(Pause). "Really, you've got a few minutes now? Great!" Then, turning to everyone with a big smile that is at once joking but deadly serious as you stride to the front of the line: Thanks, guys, I KNOW none of you mind!!

Yes it was rude. However when you got into the line, you should have called "no cuttsies" and then the issue would never had been brought up.

Don't feel too bad for not speaking up, Dave. Just this morning I ran into a casual friend I haven't seen since December. While we were talking he dropped two cigarette butts on the ground when there was an ashtray about 10 feet away. I remebered Captain Tidy, but to my shame I chickened out and didn't say anything. Although probably the best response would have been to pick up the first butt and put it in the ashtray myself. Betchya that would have kept him from dropping the second one!

I've split myself between two lines to see which would go faster. You know, you come up to those check-out lines where there are two mirror-image lines with cashiers on the outsides of the lines. On the left side is a woman with only three or four items but she looks like she'll be paying with a check and won't get it out of her handbag until everything has been totalled. On the right is a woman who has a cartload but looks like she'll be paying with a credit card.

The trick is to put the cart "more or less" in one line and then stand off to the side of it "more or less" in the right line, so that's it's not clear you and the cart belong together.

If someone else joins the line, there's a chance they won't say anything until one of the people up front is finishing, at which point your decision is easy. If someone does ask, at least things will have progressed enough to make a more educated choice (woman on the right still has six items left to be totalled but woman on left is asking what the date is).

Is that rude?

Punky, you're the shizzle.

"Yes it was rude. However when you got into the line, you should have called "no cuttsies" and then the issue would never had been brought up."

LOL Scott-o that is pretty funny. Reminds me of the movie Dumb and Dumber!

and you too, mel. gracias.

i concur.

it was rude.

and family should be an exception to the rule.

Actually, considering it now, the only dishwasher I've got is an industrial strength 90-seconds-a-load one. Sounds scary. Thoughts?

If you do wash it in the dishwasher, do it in an EMPTY dishwasher with no detergent. I had a nice, dark blue firefighter hat that needed a little cleaning. I stuck it in (obviously without my wife's knowledge) with a regular load. Bleached the $&(^*$& out of it. Then I had a nice PINK firefighter cap.

At least $25 saved me the embarrassment of showing up at the station looking like Richard Simmons.

alex, gfunk, any others with dirty hats:
Get some Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (no, not baking soda, WASHING soda): yellow box in laundry detergent section. This stuff gets out grease, body oil, and odors better than anything else. Handy toll-free number you can call, talk to friendly folks, get cleaning advice. Best stuff in the world. Honest. I have 3 kids and one husband who put me to the test of cleaning every week and I am the cleaning master.

Oooh, sounds all-purpose. Like my Clorox wipes. So, anybody wanna drive me to the store?

Not only was the guy rude to the people in the line, he was rude to his friend. How so, you say? Because his friend was aware of the awkwardness of the situation and politely refused, but was then pressured by his friend to comply! Now he's in the position of making a stand for What's Right(tm), to the embarassment of himself and his friend who may STILL persist in making a complete jerk of himself (and if he's had a few drinks already, a louder jerk of himself), or caving in for the sake of not making a scene.

The correct thing to do would have been scream loudly "CHEATER". But only in your head. The correct thing for guy A to do is ask "Hey, what are getting? I'll just order it and buy it for you". Then everyone would have smiled warmly at such a romantic and touching gesture, assuming you were in Massachusets.

-Sean (I do think the added transaction is the real penalty)

"Get some Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (no, not baking soda, WASHING soda): yellow box in laundry detergent section."


It was his hat he's trying to wash, so I'm not sure this was helpful. I have a pretty dirty hammer at home though, so thanks for the tip -- I didn't know they made special products for washing those (not sure I'll try it on my arms though).

It's very rude. Fortunately, the fine folks in Louisville, KY make a product to deal with people like this.

How about hand-washing it in the sink with warm water a brush and some detergent...



now, a sink I've got...

Who needs a mom when you've got Dave, Judi, and the Bloglits?!

Dave, you've already employed the perfect resolution to this problem as many great writers as yourself would do: write them off.

The pen is mightier than the pizza. (Until you add yummy toppings.)

maybe I'll put myself up for adoption on this site. Anybody wanna pay my tuition?

Thanks, Punky. The sad part is:

"I absolutely am not making this up"

Let me get back to you, Mel. I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there willing to shell out 36K a year and let me stay where I'm at.

Russ, careful with the Richard Simmons jokes. You could get slapped.

You're SO correct on this, that guy was an asshat. No cuts! And no, it's not hypocritical to allow someone's wife or husband/son/daughter to join them in the front. That situation is different, but I can't quite explain how. It's just *right*. Whatever, I agree with you Dave!

Dave, maybe you would like to throw some Arm&Hammer Washing Soda at rude Guys A and B ... maybe it will make them go away, too, leaving the area clean and clear to resume pizza ordering and enjoyment.

So how do you wash an asshat, Lizzy?

Follow-up manners question: Is it rude to hijack someone's Pizza Line Manners thread to discuss the cleaning of hats?

Febreeze, dude.

Although the odds that Dave is still reading this are pretty low, I will add my two cents (and that's two Canadian cents, so it's really like 1.45 cents US):

The correct response to Guy A's statement that you mind but aren't saying anything would have been to say "Anything".

That is all.

please, alex. Tell us more about your ass.

As an update, it got washed in the sink, and is now hanging in the middle of my room from a coathanger to drip dry. For all of you who couldn't handle the suspense.

If guy 1 wants to talk to his buddy he should of gave up his place and let you 2 go ahead.

If they wanted to be together, Guy A should have gone back with Guy B and let the rest of you move up. He was a jerk.

The best way to deal with rude line cutter-inners is to let them win, content in the knowledge that their rudeness will be returned to them 1000 times over. They won the battle but will lose the war.

I always check to see if the guy I'm cutting in on is a famous guy or anything. Then I yell something like: "Hey, look who this is, everybody!" Then, while the famous guy is busy signing autographs and stuff, I get the last slice of pizza which is always the best one anyways. But that's just me.

I am also confused. My response regarding your ass was in light-hearted jest...



Ah, ethics...my strong-suit.

Before answering, comments on the comments.

Hal- loved your approach: say, "Hey.. he (guy b) is being polite and waiting his turn."

Grant- really liked your approach: "jucicious use of fire." However, it did appeal to the base side.

Rude and wrong (dare I say, "immoral?")

The injustice is imposing wasted time (life) on another person without consent. Families ordering together take the same time since the order would be the same even if only one person placed the order.

Likewise, no injustice is committed if friends come and stand in line with someone ordering, but do not order themselves.

The very fact that the guy felt compelled to ask is an admission that he knew it was "wrong."

If Dave had tried cutting ahead of guy A, you can bet he would have squawked (funny how obnoxious people are most likely to cite moral code AND most likely to ignore it).

Now the tie in to telemarketers: same violation of moral code--wasting a portion of a victim's life without consent is wrong.

Bring on more ethical questions!

Note to college hat guy and those who responded: take it to an AOL chat room please. You're wasting our time.

well, yes, rude, but then it's hard to resist if your friend is offering -you- the linejump. but in that instance, when someone (namely the hallowed mr. barry) is obviously annoyed, it's definitely a faux pas to jump anyway.

Rude. Line cutting should only be allowed if the two parties combine their orders into a single transaction.

Speaking of rude, I saw a Fla license plate the other day that was supposed to say "salute veterans" but the bolt hole was over the "l" so it read "saute veterans". Was this intentional on the part of the driver or normal moroncy on the part of the Fla DMV?

Remember when Richard Simmons attacked that guy in the airport? That's all you Dave. You have the God given right, and it probably wouldn't even hurt your Presidential Campaign.

btw, if someone already made a post of this fashion, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm not reading through 108 posts; I'm supposed to be studying Russian literature. Blech

I'm a devoted reader/fan, always enjoying your twisted-normal response to things. This situation kind of surprises me about you. I can't picture you tongue-tied! This guy was obviously counting on no one being willing to speak up -- and turns out he was right. You, Dave??! Surely not!

Alex, it seems like we need a way to convey voice inflections over this, eh?

Why did I just say "eh?"

Deontologist. Sorry to waste your time. You are clearly a far more productive member of society than I. Therefore, I humbly ask: What the hell are you doing on this site?


I didn't say all use of time is "productive" but rather implied that posting hat-washing questions on a Dave-initiated discussion about line-cutting is analogous to telemarketing.

Ah, yes. I had forgotten about this blog's tendancy to stick to topic. Again, I apologize. I will be sure to not post hat-related comments during meal times.

(Everybody getting my voice inflections on this?)

heh heh..."butting"...heh

AF: Yeah, I wish I had said something. But generally I don't, in those situations, because generally I don't want to draw attention to myself.

i have always understood that mr. barry is a very shy individual, which i can understand because i am too. this is vaguely worrying, because i recently read a blurb in discover magazine cleverly entitled "only the shy die young." hmmm...

Is it rude to use this blog to tell MeL that I am getting an error message on hers? Sorry, darling, but it says you don't exist! I know you aren't a figment, I am not that imaginative.

To the college guy who wanted to know how to wash a hat:

If you are in college and you own a hat, you NEVER wash it. This was clearly a trick question. You simply wear it until it falls off in little raggedy bits.

It occurs to me: What were you doing with a 4 year old at a tennis match? That take guts.

From *waaaaay* back up there where I didn't get here fast enough to comment on, Ben's wife is right: if you have a choice between a person with 30 items in their cart, and 5 people in line with 3 items a piece, take the 30 items; it will be faster. And relations are more likely to be transacted as a unit in circumstances like this.

Moral: if you're going to jump a friend in line, be prepared to pay for their pizza yourself.

We *will* see a column about this, right, Dave? We'll be *very* disappointed if we don't... and I don't have to tell you what *that* implies, right?

1 2 3 »

The comments to this entry are closed.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise