It’s funny how some people always want to follow the rules and are often the first to break them.

Take littering for instance, some people go at lengths to talk about how people don’t have civic sense. Later they end up throwing a banana peel from their window. Another thing is how we aren’t good in forming queues. During my first trip abroad I was amazed at how people formed a queue without being asked to do so. No rushing, no pushing, no fighting. We talk about standing in queues, but sometimes it just doesn’t work for us.

A few days back, I was at the supermarket doing my weekend shopping. I was the second in line and waiting for my turn when an old lady stood to my left. When the previous person had paid and left the old lady asked the person at the counter to bill her purchase. When the billing lady pointed out that there was a line and it was my turn, she immediately apologized and offered to stand a few places behind me. I realized it was a genuine mistake and since she was old, I asked the person at the counter to bill her purchase first. The old lady said thanks and left.

When my items were getting billed, there was a person standing behind me.  Then came another lady and stood to my left. For her benefit, I told her that the line was to my right. I don’t know why, but she looked offended and said that I was done with the billing anyway, so why should I bother where she stood. I kept quiet, it was none of my business. She then told loudly that she was hurrying off to some place and that she had no time and gave me a weird look. She rhetorically said ‘You don’t mind if I bill next, right?’ to the guy who was next in line. It was evident he did not have a choice, so he said it was fine.

This lady smiled and then kept asking the billing lady to hurry up. The billing lady was polite, gave her a smile and told me the amount I had to pay. I took out my debit card, and then an idea struck me. I kept the card inside and looked at all the Sodexo coupons that had accumulated in my wallet. I avoid using Sodexos during peak hours in the super market, but today I knew I had to. It was full of 20s and 10s. So one by one, I took it out, counted and handed it over. The billing lady had to recount and enter some details (which is always done for these coupons). The lady next to me kept telling her to make it quick, to which the billing lady said,

‘Madam, please wait till I finish the transaction with this customer’.

I turned to the guy who was waiting and apologized for the delay and told him that Sodexos always take more time. He replied that he was also in the habit of using Sodexo coupons and that it was perfectly fine. It was my turn to smile.

Finally I collected my bill and items, thanked the billing lady and left. I could see that the lady, who had not only broken the queue, but also had the nerve to justify herself saying she had no time, fret about having wasted a lot of time.  Had she not been rude with me, I would have very well asked her to get her items billed as I was in no hurry. I smiled to myself at being given an opportunity to irritate her. In my defence I did not do anything wrong.

Why do people still do this? It’s just a matter of a few minutes, some patience and about not being rude to strangers. If the so-called ‘educated’ people behave this way, what kind of an example are they setting for their children? I’m strongly against the generalization that educated people behave well. In my opinion, education had nothing to do with behavior and common sense.

Someone rightly said, common sense is not so common. I couldn’t agree more!