Cutting in lines – this is something I have seen, experienced, but never actually done, just because the whole idea of it still baffles me.
I remember one time in particular, I was waiting in line at the grocery store, when a group (and by group, I mean like 6 or 8) young teenagers cut me in line just as I was putting my groceries down. And of course, they all had to pay separately for one drink or one snack each, while my patience wore increasingly thin waiting for them to finally finish. What was worse, the cashier happily served them and had no qualms about what they had done. When they all finally left, I was putting my groceries onto the counter a second time when a middle aged man put his groceries ahead of mine, pushing mine back. I stood there aghast, giving him a glare that could freeze your blood. I learned a lesson that day – be ruthless, or you will miss out.
In Canada, cutting in line is seen as cheating: everyone else has paid their dues, waiting without complaint, and then someone thinks they can just waltz right up to the front? You would have a passive-aggressive mob before you got away with that. But in France, cutting in line is not seen as cheating, but rather as grasping an opportunity. So if you ever come across this ridiculously common French practice, whatever you do, don’t call them out!
The French love to argue
Never, ever argue with a French person. Their patience is low, their French is better, and you WILL lose. It doesn’t seem to matter who is right, only who is loudest.
This happens in traffic too
Running red lights, making illegal turns, even driving backwards down a one way street, these are all things I have seen on the streets of Paris in order to cut the traffic. They just don’t care.
Beware the grannies
Little petite French grandmas may look pretty harmless, but they are the WORST for cutting in line. On top of that, they often look back at you as if to tempt you into an argument. Do not indulge them, these little firecrackers will do you in.
So how do you deal with this?
You really only have two options:
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do…
- or just shut up and deal with it.
You eventually just get used to it and don’t become so annoyed, because this happens all. the. time. Every culture has its quirks, but for goodness sake, don’t make a fuss about this one. You will soon find out that you have made a mistake.