She went shopping at a grocery store and said the service was extremely slow. There was only one register open, and no self-checkout was available. The line was quite long, and she observed that most people had full carts, whereas she only had one item. Directly behind her were an elderly lady and a mom with a baby. The lady started telling the mom to skip the queue and go to the front because she was with a baby. But OP (the original poster) didn’t like this and is reaching out to the online community to ask if she was wrong.
OP turned to the lady and told her to speak for herself and that she didn’t agree to let the mom ahead of her in line. OP and the lady started to argue. OP told her that this checkout doesn’t give priority to pregnant people and parents, so she should wait in line like everybody else. She also said that if it’s an issue, she shouldn’t bring a baby into the store. She says the lady started a rant about how she has never witnessed this behavior before and how OP will understand when she has her own kids. OP responded with, “if she has kids.”
OP says the lady then “started telling me how my life will be horrible if I don’t (have kids) and how I lack empathy and will regret my decision.” This infuriated OP further, so she cursed at the lady and turned around. The lady and the mother continued to discuss her behavior, and the mom complained that she didn’t feel comfortable in public with people like OP.
OP says she has no problem with kids and hasn’t had any issues with them in public. However, she says the baby was calmly sleeping in a stroller, so she didn’t see why the mom should have the privilege of skipping the line. She says if the baby was screaming or the mom was carrying it in her hands, she would allow her to go ahead. OP says she is tired of parents feeling entitled to benefit from a situation without reason.
She wonders if she was wrong because she understands that the lady and the mom are “socially vulnerable.”
Several readers first commented that the typical etiquette practiced where they live is to allow a person with only a few items to go ahead if they have a full cart.
“I thought the unspoken rules involved giving priority to people with minimal items …. maybe that’s my European mentality.”
“This is the mentality in the US as well. If I have a cart full of items, I will always allow someone with just a few to go in front of me. I see it happen all the time in my local store.”
But many readers agreed there was no need to give the mom with the child priority to move ahead.
“This is part of the reason why I don’t care for modern parents or parenting culture. Some parents don’t want to hear this, but my time is just as valuable as yours.”
“It comes with the territory to have to wait in lines with kids when you bring kids with you. She can wait her turn just like everyone else.”
“As someone who has a small baby, I don’t expect anyone to let me go first. Would it be nice when she’s screaming? Sure, but still, I don’t expect it and definitely would turn it down if she was sleeping. My reasoning is I don’t know what other people have going on in their lives and are in a rush. That woman had every right to offer her spot, but it’s not for her to decide you have to do the same.”
Although many agreed that she didn’t need to allow the mom to move ahead, her reaction to the situation wasn’t appropriate.
“But your reaction… wow. Sounds like you went nuclear, and that’s disturbing. All you had to do was ignore the conversation and keep your place in line. The elderly lady doesn’t speak for the entire queue.”
“What world do you live in that “parents always do this”? Also, it’s not like she was asking to cut in front of you. A total stranger suggested to her that she do, and it doesn’t sound like she makes any moves to do so.”
“You are not required to give up your spot in line if you don’t want to. That said, the way you handled this situation was terrible. It costs nothing to be nice/polite. You were rude both to the mother and to the older woman. Also, the way you talk about the mother and her baby is mean for no reason.”
What do you think? Should she have kept looking forward and ignored the conversation for the mother to skip ahead? Or was she right to stop them before she even asked? Should she have let the mother with the baby skip ahead? Did she handle the situation well?
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