I go to Walmart for a seemingly unfuckupable task: to pick up a dozen eggs for my girlfriend. I manage to navigate to the eggs, pick out a dozen that aren’t broken, and navigate back to the checkouts.
Then, everything goes off the rails.
Like always, Walmart was full. I was in a fake rush, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it, so I found a line and started to wait. Luckily, after a few minutes a nice checkout lady opened up a new checkout and asked the lady behind me and I to come use it. Naturally, I began migrating to the new register. I get about ten feet from the register and some old man decides to shove his buggy in front of me and get to the register first.
At this point, I had a decision:
- Let it go.
- Be a douche.
- Politely tell him I was first.
Naturally, I went with being a douche.
I, immediately, stepped in front of him and said something douchey to the effect of “You aren’t going to skip me like that, Boss.”
Yes, I referred to him as Boss and, no, I never even looked him in the eye. I literally said the phrase and put my shit down on the counter in front of him.
He reacted much as you would expect an older man to react. He expressed that he wouldn’t think of doing something like that and referred to me as “big boy” which is a jab all in its own because I am 5 foot 5 inches and 140 pounds on a good day.
Without another word, the young lady checked me out and I was on my way.
I didn’t make it out of the store before I started to hate myself.
Where I fucked up.
First off, who says shit like “You aren’t going to skip me, Boss.” I, obviously, have lost a stride in my insult and comeback game.
Although my shitty comeback is bad enough, the main problem is that I broke one of My Personal Philosophies in life: “I am not a dick especially to customer service people, old people, and idiots.”
I failed on two parts:
- Don’t be a dick.
- Old People.
Why did I do it?
I could come up with a list of excuses a mile long to explain my behavior. However, the excuses are irrelevant. No excuse or reason justifies my behavior.
What should I have done?
On one hand, I have to ask myself would I feel differently if the person was a young man or woman? Truthfully, yes I would feel differently. The fact that he was an old man gives him excuses:
Maybe he didn’t hear the girl.
Maybe he didn’t see me.
Maybe his life experiences just give him a pass.
On the other hand, where is the line between defending myself from being taken advantage of and just letting something go. I think a large portion of people would agree that being skipped in line is rude and the people who do it deserved be called out. However, in the grand scheme of things is being skipped worth the negative energy of being rude?
The situation also has to be taken into context. The man was ahead of me, but in another line. He could have just seen the girl walking to the checkout and never known she was bringing people over to be checked out. He, literally, could have just been reacting to a new register being opened.
Like almost everything in life, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
First off, I or no one else should be taken advantage of and too fucking many people get away with petty shit like this because no one calls them out on it.
Secondly, the fact that the person was old should have no bearing in this case. I should treat all people equally.
Thirdly, the situation matters entirely. This is a case where I should have stepped back, looked at the situation, and realized this man was not being malicious. He was just moving lines. I should have realized that and either not said a word or said something politely. No world exists where I should have been a dick.
Furthermore, the line at the super market is hardly the place to right all the wrongs of the world. So what, if he did skip me maliciously? In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter.
What’s the lesson here?
Before you react, analyze what is actually going on and tailor your response appropriately. Don’t be like me and kill a fly with a sledge hammer.
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