Parisian Cheats

One thing I will never get used to in Paris is standing in line and people cutting without any shame whatsoever.  What is worse, the cashiers are complicit in line cutting, by either simply ignoring it or, more maddening, encouraging such awful behavior.

Today, in classic fashion, I was at Franprix and there were two cashiers open, but one suddenly closed, creating a long que.  As I stood in line, maybe for a minute, a woman curiously rushed to the closed line and the cashier happily took her groceries.  Everyone behind me stepped in, leaving me the last person in line as a result.  I was completely confused, as the cashier emphatically had told me just seconds before that she was closed, counting Euros, to instantaneously reopen.

More to the point, the person who rush to get in front had no qualms whatsoever in cutting to be first, with everyone else behind me following her.  It is amazing to me really, that there is no shame, but this is life in Paris.  Cutting (or cheating) is just viewed as an opportunity, and there is nothing wrong with it.  Le Parisien, a Paris magazine, has captured this and other Parisian quirks that exemplify some aspects of life in Paris.  See the video here.

There is little one can do either, as Parisian impatience is so infamous shouting does little to cause good behavior.  One time I tried, but my French was so poor I gave up.  Another time at the airport, a French man was so impatient standing in line he started stomping his feet like a two year old, with the hope that would help the line move faster and, for him, it did, as some embicile actually let him cut in line ahead of him!

I have even see cars race the opposite side of the street to get ahead of cars in traffic, going through red lights to boot.  The coup de grace was when a person insisted I go backwards on a one-way street to help them cut through traffic, and when I refused and threw my keys on the floor, passers-by yelled at ME, because I simply would not indulge this behavior to go in reverse in a one-way street to aid in line cutting.

I don’t have  a good answer to those who expect respectful queing, as there is none in Paris.  So do what the Parisians do — and cut in line.

 

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One Comment

  1. jennifer
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    nyc is similarly frustrating. the difference it that the “cheater” will get called out by everyone around, but the outcome is usually the same as in paris. he gets away with it.

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