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Clear Those Lines, I Have A Stack of Books And A Cranky Toddler!

I took my four year old daughter to the library after I got home from work. She did great right up until it was time to go check out. She was right on the edge (it was just about bedtime, so not surprised) when we headed to the circulation counter with our stack of books when some guy zipped around in front of us and had all these issues with his card. That guy totally saw us heading to the counter and deliberately went around the book display to get there first.

Seriously? Thanks for cutting around in front of us and making us wait and wait. Every time I thought he was all set, there was one more thing.

“I have fines.”

“I never checked out that book.”

“What do I have checked out on my card?”

“I have a hold.”

There’s only so much to do while waiting in line with an energetic 4 yr old. She read the letters from the book display, then counted the letters. Crawled around on the floor with her toy and then finally resorted to running in circles.

Sure, I could have ducked back into the Children’s Room but we’ve done that before only to have a line form and it takes even longer to leave.

Are people really so self-centered?? It would have taken 2 minutes for us to get our books and leave. Instead we waited for almost 10 minutes while you dealt with all your issues.   0608-15

When shopping or engaging in errands around town, the expectation must be that you will wait in a line somewhere, for some undetermined amount of time.   It could be a short line, no line at all, or a long line but the reality of interacting with your fellow humans is that you will either be in front of someone in a line or behind them at some point.  If your daughter cannot handle the unpredictability of how long you and she may have to wait in a line, perhaps not bringing her with you would be an option.

The gentleman who proceeded you to the check out counter at the library did nothing unethical in moving faster than you to achieve first status in the line.   It’s not like he leaped over a book display and barreled through stacked books, tripping over himself to be first.    And your  own “stack of books” could have been perceived as needing to take longer to get finished so he hustled to get in line before you.   What if there had been four or five people ahead of you that day collectively taking the same amount of time to check out books as Book Dude did?   Are they are evil for daring to move to the check out counter at the same time as you do?   And why would you wait until your daughter was “right on the edge” to leave thus potentially setting her up for failure if the check out line was longer than you expected?   It’s as if you are entitled to no lines when your 4-year-old daughter is past her bedtime so as to avoid her having a meltdown.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Margaret July 2, 2015, 10:01 am

    Most libraries have self-checkout machines now.

    • Mary July 3, 2015, 6:38 am

      The large branches maybe. We have about forty branches in our system. The main library of the system has two self checkouts. I’ve been to about ten other branches (cities ranging from 1,000-15,000) and none of those have self checkouts. I’m guessing the main branch is the only one with that option in our area since the rest are all small towns.

    • Rose July 3, 2015, 6:43 am

      We don’t have them where I live, and, as she didn’t mention seeing one, we can deduce that there wasn’t one in this situation, either.

  • Ashley July 2, 2015, 10:37 am

    One day I went to the bank for work. I had to make a special trip of it because I was the only one in the office that day, and the bank is across town so I knew we’d just straight up be closed for up to a half hour depending on traffic.

    I get there and every spot at the counter has someone at it, being helped by a teller. While I was waiting, an old man came in, filled out his stuff, and got in line next to me. Wasn’t sure why he elected to stand next to me rather than behind me as is customary, but it became clear in the next few minutes. A teller becomes free and says “M’am, I can help you right over here” and the old guy STICKS HIS CANE OUT IN MY WAY!!! and then takes my place at the teller. All the tellers were flabbergasted and the teller who was supposed to help me said “Sir, she’s been waiting here about ten minutes because of how busy we’ve been, she was next.” He turns and looks at me and says “I don’t care.” then goes back to whatever he needed the teller to do.

    THAT is a situation that entitles someone to be mad. The old man DELIBERATELY blocked me, skipped me, then told me and the teller that he did not care that I was there first. The man in OP’s story just moved a little faster. It’s not like he tipped over the book display to slow you and your daughter down.

    And as admin mentions, there are other situations where you would have had to wait just as long even if no one had moved faster than you.

    • SJ July 2, 2015, 5:49 pm

      What a shocking story! I don’t like it when people think that if they do something rude everyone else will be “polite” by letting them get away with it.

    • Airelenaren July 2, 2015, 5:53 pm

      Wow, that sure is rude! O.o
      What did the teller do after the man had said he didn’t care?

    • ermine July 2, 2015, 7:08 pm

      If that happened to me, I probably would say, “Well I guess that’s OK because you are clearly very old and could die at any moment, so I suppose you don’t have time to wait!” Not polite at all, but that’s what would happen.

    • Tara July 3, 2015, 6:47 am

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh I would not have let him get away with that! “Excuse me, I was next” and walk right up to him at the teller and begin doing business. I know as a cashier, I enforced first come first serve, unless the person said it was okay, that cutter can go first. I would outright ignore people who were trying to cut in front of others, until their turn came (where they would’ve been in line had they actually joined the line). I bet the teller would have done the same thing if you had walked up to her, and probably called security to make the man go wait in line if necessary.

      I have had similar things happen to me… waiting in line at the grocery store after a long day of work, in self-checkout, some people tried to cut in front of me. I said loudly “EXCUSE me! I was next!” Few people are willing to argue when called out on their crap.

      • Ashley July 3, 2015, 12:40 pm

        Everyone, including myself, just continued to be flabbergasted. The teller helped him and another teller happened to become free so I went to her. The whole ordeal only added about 30 seconds, or a minute tops to my situation, but after he said “I don’t care” it was pretty much silent in the room until he left.

        When I got to the teller, and the old guy had left, all the free tellers said things about “That was so rude!” and said they wished they had done something more, but they were all just so bewildered that he had actually done/said all that.

        The whole time in my head I was thinking about how when people say “respect your elders” surely he was the exception to the rule.

        • Asharah July 3, 2015, 3:25 pm

          Respecting somebody based on their age doesn’t apply when they behave like a horse’s rear end.

        • JeanLouiseFinch July 6, 2015, 11:19 am

          Someone once told me a good thing to say when elderly people act in a way that makes it difficult to give them respect. He said, “Mr. G____ is just proof that when bad wine ages, it doesn’t get better.” I too was taught to respect and if necessary, assist elders; however, I can only assume that some mercifully few people are just using their age as an excuse to be rude.

  • Anon July 2, 2015, 10:38 am

    I don’t know, I don’t think the OP is saying that the world should revolve around her and her child. I think it is rude to rush to get in front of someone when you know you have a long and complicated business, especially when you can reasonably assume that the other person has a simple transaction. It doesn’t take a long time to check out a stack of books.

    • Anonymous July 2, 2015, 7:40 pm

      Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. The man who rushed ahead of the OP and her daughter knew that he was going to be a while, he knew that the OP had a small child with her, and he knew what time it was. As for “why take your four-year-old to the library so late?”; we don’t know the answer to that; only the OP does. Maybe she had to return books that day, and couldn’t get to the library until later because of work or whatever. Maybe there was a specific children’s event happening that night, like a pajama storytime or something, and maybe the OP had been talking it up all week, and Kiddo really wanted to go. Maybe evening is the only time the OP can take her daughter to the library, because she’s at work or otherwise engaged when Kiddo is at her best. We don’t know the details; we just know that the OP’s daughter was doing fine until the very end of the library excursion, when the rude man raced ahead of them. I don’t buy the argument that kids should be kept home unless there’s a guarantee that they’ll be perfectly calm and well-behaved, because ADULTS aren’t necessarily always perfectly calm and well-behaved in public either.

      • Anon July 11, 2015, 11:03 pm

        Right on!

    • Ashley July 3, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Okay, but there’s a chance that OP’s business could have become long and complicated as well. Maybe one of the books wouldn’t scan. Maybe the checkout system would freak out and stop working. Maybe she’d have late fees to settle. Maybe her daughter would suddenly decide it would be super funny to sprint across the library at mach ten and mom would have to go chasing after her in the middle of the transaction.

      Also, maybe the man thought his business wouldn’t take as long because it didn’t involve a tired toddler.

    • Becca July 5, 2015, 11:13 am

      At the public library where I work, we have to check every single book for condition when it gets checked out. If the staff at OP’s library have the same policy, then believe you me it *would* take a long time to check out a “stack” of children’s books (which, if the parents at my library’s checkout behavior is anything to go by, would contain at least 10-20 books!).

    • Library Diva July 6, 2015, 11:05 am

      We have no idea that he knew all of these issues would happen.

  • Nicole July 2, 2015, 10:45 am

    I am not a huge fan of children and thus avoid places that cater to them – I go out of my way to give them space including eating out later in the evening and avoiding key family shopping times. The reason I bring this up is I don’t think that restrictions should be placed on anyone because of their ability or preference on childbearing or if they have the child along. Despite my best efforts, there are places that I can not avoid children at and I don’t think that just because you have spawned that obliges me to give you special treatment or allow you to precede me in line. Nor do I think that because I do not have a cranky child I should be allowed to go ahead of you and get out faster so I don’t have to listen to another second of the mind melting screaming. Just last month I had to pay a dry cleaning bills for a lovely skirt of mine because a parent failed to contain a sticky child at the grocery store. I accept that as a risk of going to a public place so I pouted for a few minutes and then moved on – I do not think I require special treatment because I did not plan enough to go to the store when they were not busy or hours unsuitable to children. This woman with her preference for children needs to take that same responsibility I did with my skirt. If you wish to have low wait times, plan to attend at the time where that will be the case. If you know you are going during a time period where wait times can be excessive, plan to leave a little early so you don’t end up dealing with a terror. Realize that other people may not share your preference for children and that your decision to procreate does not, in any way, entitle you to special treatment anymore than my decision to not procreate entitles me. We all have to live together, if you plan not to annoy people then it goes just a little easier.

    • CW July 2, 2015, 7:31 pm

      Something about the tone of this comment irks me.

      Anyway, I feel like the OP is complaining more about the fact that this man cut her off when he knew he had a laundry list of issues to take care of and less of the “I’m special because my child is with me”.

      • Hollyhock July 3, 2015, 11:38 am

        I have arrived at the library counter thinking to quickly check out a couple of items only to find that I had fines that needed paying, or an issue with a book that had been purchased or ordered at my request, or a worn-down barcode on my card requiring replacement, or otherwise a more time-consuming transaction than anticipated.

        It is unseemly to impugn the guy’s motives. And I really don’t think that the demographics of the patrons should determine who gets priority. He may well have had a pressing reason — one just as valid as wanting to get a squirmy kid home, or perhaps more so — a waiting elderly parent or an appointment or getting to work on the late shift — for needing a fast transaction.

      • Anon July 11, 2015, 11:07 pm

        I think so too!

    • Nannerdoman July 3, 2015, 9:57 am

      The tone of this comment irritates me as well. Children are very young human beings, and even this poster was one once. She sounds a tad defensive about her decision not to have children.

      • Vrinda July 3, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Just because we were all children once, it doesn’t mean we have to like children. When I was a child, I wasn’t like the other children. I had nothing in common with them. They were mean, selfish, and ignorant. They were very immature and whiny. I liked to keep to myself and didn’t want any pampering or fuss made over me. That is part of the reason why I don’t care much for children. I don’t like kids who are constantly fussy, can’t sit still, are always whining and complaining, and run around screaming at the top of their lungs, throwing things and damaging property. Not all children are like that, but many are. Since I couldn’t relate to children when I was a child, it’s impossible to relate to them now.

      • Nicole July 3, 2015, 2:31 pm

        I find it interesting that you assume I decided not to have children. Quite the opposite. I have a very large family with lots of cousins and nieces. I am also a widow who was unlucky enough to miscarry and then lose her husband to an early death. The decision to procreate was taken from me so i find large groups of children and family to be a painful reminder of what was lost. I don’t think my sorrow should affect others so I arrange it is best I can to not inconvenience anyone. I did not think my reasons for avoiding family situations was relevant to the discussion as it was not important to the points being made. Please think before you judge someone’s motives.

        I also find it interesting that you comment not on the message that I tried to relay – one of tolerance for others when you are in their environment and taking responsibility for your own comforts, but instead on a perceived tone. Perhaps something about the message upset you? I don’t think attacks on my person are justified. You need to also accept that people from different areas may have different dialects, so focus on the message, not on a ‘tone’ that is technically incapable of existing in the written word. Many a meaningless battle was fought between loved ones because people insert ‘tones’ that are not actually there.

        • crella July 3, 2015, 8:22 pm

          Your opening comment was-

          “I am not a huge fan of children and thus avoid places that cater to them “, and you also used the word ‘spawned’.

          There is such a thing as ‘tone’.

          • monkeys mommy July 4, 2015, 4:00 pm


          • saucymarla July 6, 2015, 4:39 pm


        • Dexter July 5, 2015, 2:36 pm

          I agree Nicole and find that the others that are blasting you for beliefs to be not only real inconsiderate, but mean as well. “How dare you not like children!!!! Why do you refuse to put them on a pedestal and worship them as GODS???? How dare you plan your day to avoid them as much as possible!!! De Childrens needs to be frees!!!!” Come one people. If you like kids and have them Great! I think it is wonderful. I cherish my nieces and nephews. I’ve set up college funds for them and listen to them ramble when they come over, but I will not be held hostage or made to feel like a evil man for not wanting to deal with children. Especially since parents now a days refuse to set boundaries and feel their precious little Dakota or Cody should be allowed to impinge on others. Just like the old man that cut in line at the bank in the story above, to impinge on others for your own benefits and beliefs IS a one way ticket to EHELL. It is astonishing to me how many parents want others to be parents. Even if they are not ready or willing to put in that commitment. It’s like they just want you to be “one of us, one of us, one of us.”!

        • Meegs July 6, 2015, 7:59 am

          Actually Nichole, in your second-to-last sentence you specifically refer to “your decison not to procreate”

    • anne July 3, 2015, 2:02 pm

      Well said. Not acting entitled makes everything easier. And I’m suspicious of anyone thinking people are obligated to slow down so she can get on line first.

    • Margaret July 4, 2015, 12:15 pm

      Nicole have you thought about how your comment would be received if you replaced the words child and children with another group say an ethnic, racial or religious group? It really comes off as an ugly comment.

    • MrsK July 6, 2015, 8:25 am

      “Just because you have spawned”? Seriously? You don’t have to like children. No one cares if you don’t like their child. But this comment drips with bitterness and self righteousness. The disgust you show toward children as if they are things and no people is nauseating. I truly hope your hatred of children extends to your own ovaries because we don’t need any more like you walking the earth

      • Nicole July 7, 2015, 8:11 am

        So, let me get this straight. I say that, regardless of your personal feelings, you should try to be tolerant of others especially when in their primary environment and you with me physical harm? Stay classy.

        • CW July 7, 2015, 1:32 pm

          Actually she said she hopes your hatred spreads. Hatred is an emotion, it doesn’t cause physical harm.

  • Nadia July 2, 2015, 11:13 am

    Thank you, Admin!! I couldn’t agree MORE with your response, but didn’t expect it! So many people use the ”but I have KIDS” as a reason they should be receiving special treatment AHEAD of those who are not so encumbered at the moment, and it works too often. I just figured it was me though lololol.

    I really was taken aback at the OP’s comment ”we waited for almost 10 minutes while you dealt with all your issues.” Wow. She can’t handle her daughter for ten minutes….that is sad.

    • Hollyhock July 2, 2015, 6:52 pm

      I totally agree with Admin as well.
      Goodness knows most of us have been held up, inconvenienced, disturbed (think crying kid reaching over booth in restaurant etc.) by people with kids. To expect that everyone back off and pave way because OP couldn’t either a) plan her trip when the kid wasn’t tired/hungry/etc. or b) get the child’s other parent or some friend/neighbor/family member to watch the child while she made an efficient trip to check out books — is just ridiculous.

      Having children is a choice and one that any informed/thinking person knows is going to make them more encumbered than those without kids, and will make the challenges of everyday living more difficult than for those without young children. Most people figure the trade-offs are worth it and proceed accordingly; they don’t expect everyone else on the planet to make the same trade-offs on their behalf.

      Comparisons to giving courtesy to the elderly, disabled, ill etc. are misguided — those conditions are not arrived at voluntarily. No one is entitled to deference for voluntary conditions such as running errands with a child.

    • Amanda H. July 2, 2015, 9:48 pm

      I’m kind of inclined to agree, and I DO have kids. If you’re taking your kids to a place like the library, you shouldn’t be waiting until they’re at meltdown stage to make your exit, and they’re going to have to learn how to wait patiently in a line sooner or later because you can’t get preferential treatment or a “no lines, no waiting” situation every time you visit the grocery store or similar.

      I will say, this is one reason I’m glad our local library has two of those wooden bead-sliding toys mounted on a wall near the checkout lines. If you have to wait in that line for one reason or another with your kids, they can at least go play with the toys while staying in sight.

    • JO July 3, 2015, 5:20 am

      Exactly what I was thinking. And why in the world wait until it’s almost bedtime and the child is already cranky to leave?

  • lakey July 2, 2015, 11:20 am

    Yeah, the guy did nothing wrong, and I don’t think he was rude. However, I think it is nice when you are in line with something that you know will take a lot longer than usual, to let the person behind you go ahead. I do this in the grocery store line. I shop for both myself and my father so I usually have a pretty big amount of groceries. If someone is behind me with a few items I let them go ahead. Of course, it isn’t an inconvenience to me because they have usually paid for their items before I even get mine all on the belt.
    I don’t feel resentful of people who don’t do the same for me because they really don’t owe it to me.

    The library situation is more complicated because it is harder to judge how long things will take. He may not have realized that all of these little things he had to do would take longer than checking out a stack of books.

    • Kamatari July 6, 2015, 9:55 am

      I want to personally thank you for letting people with a small number of items go ahead of you.

      A few years ago, my mother decided on one of the worst days of the year that she wanted ice cream and she wanted it TONIGHT. I got to a checkout line with 3 items. The lady in front had loaded the conveyor belt but hadn’t started yet. I waited for over 20 minutes while she organized her carts into keep, not keep, and “this goes on this card”. What day of the year was it? The day before school started.

      It would have been very nice for her to let me check out, but she didn’t. She absolutely didn’t owe it to me to do so, but when you are buying well over $500 worth of products and haven’t started being rung up, it’s kind of nice to the person who is buying $10 worth of stuff to go first!

  • Devin July 2, 2015, 11:27 am

    Admin – the visual of someone doing some hard core parkour moves to cut in line at the library is hilarious and probably how the OP envisions this scenario.

    I know at my local public library when you go to check out a book, you can’t check out any new material if you have outstanding fines and you may not know you have fines until you get to the desk. I have a feeling this 10 minute long scene went something like:
    Librarian: “Oh I’m sorry, it looks like there is a hold on your account”
    Parkour Man: “Really? Why?”
    Librarian: “You have a $1 late fee for Yurdle the Turtle”
    Guy checking out newest adult murder mystery “That’s not book I’ve checked out, I don’t have kids. Wait, what else is currently checked out on my card”
    Librarian: “Dummies Guide to Raising Toddlers & Ninja Level Parkour Moves to Cut Lines”
    Ninja: “Looks like you’ve got my card mixed up with someone else”
    Librarian: “Let me get that cleared up for you… and here you go, enjoy your book”
    Ninja Parkour Line Cutter swings off chandelier to get to car where elderly parent/autistic sibling/cancer survivor is waiting (because you never know why that man might have wanted to hurry out of the library).

    • Hollyhock July 2, 2015, 6:54 pm

      Exactly. We all have responsibilities and reasons for wanting to get our errands completed as efficiently as possible, whether or not we have a toddler on our hip in the immediate moment. It is selfish folly to assume that one’s own reasons trump another’s.

    • Amanda H. July 2, 2015, 9:50 pm

      And once more, I wish this site had a “like” button for posts, because that is an awesome visual.

    • RC July 3, 2015, 1:49 am

      So. Much. Love. For your reply.

      • yankeegal77 July 3, 2015, 12:54 pm

        The awesome is strong on this response. I highly doubt the man tried to cut her off. He most likely realized he needed to leave quickly–perhaps he had a four-year-old of his own waiting at home, or needed to tend to something else. Sorry, OP–“energetic” four-year-old or not, not only is waiting in line a fact of life, but if you cannot teach your child to wait patiently in line for ten minutes, you need to evaluate your leaving-the-house-with-your-child strategies.

    • Anonymouse July 4, 2015, 12:00 pm


  • Lo July 2, 2015, 11:30 am

    I agree with admin for the most part.

    I’ll take OP’s word for it that the guy tried to cut to purposefully get there in front of you. I don’t think that’s nice to do if you see someone heading up to check out. But I don’t understand why your time is more important than his. He can’t read your mind and he doesn’t know your child. I don’t see why this merits a second thought except that it was an inconvenience.

  • GeenaG July 2, 2015, 11:39 am

    It is not reasonable to expect the world or people to change to accommodate you just because you have a child. You are the parent and it’s on you to plan carefully and thoughtfully when you go out in public. You will find that you will be able to accomplish much less in the same amount of time than you could without a child in tow. That’s just how it is, so plan accordingly because it won’t change for quite a few years.

    • mark July 2, 2015, 7:49 pm

      When they get older it works to your advantage. I send my teenaged kids to get an item or two while I wait in line. Or I send them a head to wait in line to get tickets. Divide and conquer.

  • Amara July 2, 2015, 12:07 pm

    I’m sorry, OP, but I am siding with the Admin’s position here. As a childless adult I often hope I do not end up in line after someone with a child or children. But it does happen and when it does I just patiently wait for them to finish, fast or slow.

    However, if the situation is as you describe I too would move faster to beat you to the line. You might take longer, have a lot of questions, your child might be talkative, noisy, screaming, trying to touch things (including me) or maybe you will be in and out so fast I will wonder if I could have been any faster.

    People who have chosen to be childless vary in their reactions to children. I don’t like them but many do. But leaving aside that, please do not take offense when there was none intended as seems to the case here. He didn’t want to deal with your child in any way but the way he chose to do that was to simply walk faster. There is no rudeness here.

    • Jazzgirl205 July 2, 2015, 6:42 pm

      Legitimate question here. I’ve seen this a lot on this site. Why is it considered horrible to state that one does not like Hindus or Norwegians or Rostafarians but it is perfectly alright to state one’s dislike of children? I was raised in a Mediteranian/Hispanic background and we would never say we disliked children. They are people who share the planet with us just like everyone else.

      • mark July 2, 2015, 7:43 pm

        I don’t know if it is perfectly alright. I’ve seen some push back against more obnoxious child free statements.

      • Samantha C July 2, 2015, 7:59 pm

        To some degree, because if a Hindu or a Norwegian or a Rastafarian were behind you in line reading signs out loud and crawling around on the floor, you’d be justified in disliking that particular person and expecting that they should be able to behave themselves better. A lot of behaviors that are typical for children are annoying – and perfectly developmentally appropriate and normal. Plenty of kids are well-behaved in public, but things like “babies cry” and “five-year-olds ask 18 bazillion questions” are truths that are not their fault. You can’t blame a baby for crying, but you can dislike being around babies because a lot of them cry.

      • GeenaG July 2, 2015, 8:43 pm

        Children are not a race or an ethnicity.

      • Ergala July 2, 2015, 9:31 pm

        Jazzgirl because the attitude I have run into is that a lot of people view children as less than equals. As if they should never be seen or heard. That was the motto my grandmother repeated to my sister and I every time we were out or when there was company coming “Little children/girls should be seen and not heard”. We were not to speak unless spoken to. It’s almost as if people forget the children have minds and opinions and well formed thoughts they might like to express. My 9 year old is considered extremely gifted, he can articulate himself quite well and contribute to conversations on an adult level. The number of people whom tell him to shush or try to brush him off is astounding. I just remind him that someday THOSE people will be calling him Sir.

        • admin July 3, 2015, 9:14 am

          devil’s advocate….your 9-year old cannot be conversing on an adult level because biologically his brain has not matured and wont for another 10 years. That is precisely why children cannot sign legal documents or give consent for certain “adult” activities.

          • Anonymous July 3, 2015, 12:59 pm

            No, children can’t sign legal documents or give consent for certain “adult” activities, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t hold intelligent conversations. Even though people reach the age of majority on their eighteenth birthdays, that doesn’t mean that “childhood” and “adulthood” are clearly delineated. There’s a difference between, say, signing a lease on an apartment, and giving an articulate answer to, “So, how about those Leafs?”; and for most people, the latter comes before the former.

        • rachel July 3, 2015, 11:23 am

          Please do not tell your kid he’s a special snowflake unless you want him living at home forever. You don’t know what job he’s going to have.

          • Ergala July 3, 2015, 2:14 pm

            Rachel I don’t tell him a special snow flake but you better believe he knows how smart he is. He has a 141 IQ at the age of 9 and is on a high school level science and reading level. His math is at an 8th grade level. He is incredibly smart and he knows when someone is brushing him off because of his age. I am not going to tell him to just suck it up. I make sure he understands that WE know how smart he is. This is a child that has conversations about physics and geology with people in that field. He is able to follow the conversation quite well.

        • anonomous July 3, 2015, 12:05 pm

          If people are frequently shushing your child or ‘brushing him off’, then I suspect your child is not a particularly great conversationalist, no matter how gifted and brilliant you think he might be…and ‘people will be calling him sir’? Sounds like you’re setting him up to be a special snowflake.

          • Ergala July 3, 2015, 2:19 pm

            Sorry you feel that way. I know what he is capable of. People shush him the moment he goes to open his mouth with comments like “You won’t understand” or “This is for adults not kids”. Oh come on, he can run circles around most people! His kindergarten teacher called me furious because he said her sweater was repugnant. She stated she had to look it up to see what it meant and then realized it was an insult. My son and I had a discussion about this and I told him it wasn’t polite to insult people. As a child with asperger’s he has very little filter so he is monitored closely. People assume that because he is 9 he has nothing of value to say that isn’t related to cartoons or video games. It’s THOSE people that are special snowflakes. I’ve told people to leave my home whom thought he was annoyance simply because he wanted to sit in the living room with us and join the conversation. He sat down and waited for an opening and went to say something when they cut him off and said “Sweetie this is an adult conversation and you couldn’t possibly understand. Go play.”. Um no, visit over please leave.

            His teacher had him helping other kids with math by the way this past year. As in explaining it to them to boost his confidence. It took a very very long time to get him there and there is no way I am going to let someone whom doesn’t understand that kids aren’t stupid or ignorant tell him he has nothing of value to add.

        • Miss-E July 3, 2015, 10:49 pm

          Sorry, brilliant butterfly your son may be but some conversations are still inappropriate for a 9-year-old. Sex, drugs, horrible violent crimes, rape, just to name a few. Do you really want your son to listen in as I tell you about how a friend of mine died in a horrible accident? Even smart kids get nightmares…

          • iridaceae July 4, 2015, 4:37 am

            Smarts aren’t everything. What 9 year old has the life experience to offer advice about putting dad in a nursing home or not? How to break up with your boyfriend? Should you take job A or job B?

            OP, toddler is not shorthand for “I get to go first”. Four is an excellent age to start teaching about waiting and that other people are human and deserve consideration.

          • Ergala July 5, 2015, 3:37 pm

            I never said we involve him in those conversations? I’m a parent, not an idiot.

          • Miss-E July 5, 2015, 11:05 pm

            I was simply trying to offer an explanation as to why some people may be saying “this is for adults not kids” or “you won’t understand”. That’s pretty much what I would say if I wanted to discuss an adult topic and a kid was hanging around listening.

        • iwadasn July 4, 2015, 11:03 am

          Ergala, if people constantly need to shush your child, I suspect it’s because he’s constantly interrupting people. No matter how smart you think he is, conversational skills can take awhile to develop. Having something worthwhile to say and knowing the appropriate time to say it are two different things.

          • kingsrings July 4, 2015, 1:59 pm

            Agree. And there’s nothing at all wrong with wanting to have child-free time and child-free conversations. There is a time and place for adults, and a time and place for children, and knowing what those are and what the boundaries are is important. Personally, when I’m at a social gathering, I want the kids in one place and the adults in another for most of the gathering, and that’s what happened while I was growing up, and that’s what happens at most of the gatherings I go to. Any parent who would allow their child to become a permanent part of the adult part of the gathering would be looked at as annoying and thinking their child is a special snowflake. Remember, nobody is enamored of your child as you are.

          • CJ July 6, 2015, 1:11 pm

            Yes, if a child interrupts I will shoosh him if his parents have not taught him proper manners. I also do not care how smart a child is, one needs to be invited or spoken to in order to join an adult conversation.

        • InTheEther July 5, 2015, 2:21 am

          He’s nine…
          Look, sorry, kid may be a super genius, he’s still nine. Regardless of his on paper intelligence, what am I going to have a meaningful conversation with him about, or what is useful bit of insight is he going to interject into the conversation? Can he commiserate with me about student loans? What’s his opinion about the newest law concerning gay marriage? For litgeek cred, does he know what the madonna-whore complex is?

          He may be on a highschool level in science and reading, but that’s still lower than my own. And even if he’s on that level, I kinda doubt he’s taking high school level courses, just because it’s usually considered socially crippling to slingshot a kid that far ahead, so he doesn’t have the hard facts. So he doesn’t have the life experiences or technical knowledge to be anywhere near on even ground with me for a conversation.

          And I would like to state that I do like children. I will totally sit there and chat with one. But that conversation is probably going to be a mind-numbing exploration of adventure time. If I have a grownup concern I’m not going to want him interrupting, same way I don’t care about the opinion of the stereotypical trust-fund baby who’s never held down a job on the previously mentioned student loans.

          On the other hand, I will agree that telling a kid to shut up if they are trying to point out something like “the info desk you’re looking for is down that hall and to the left” is rude. But that isn’t exactly a conversation.

          • Ergala July 5, 2015, 3:43 pm

            I will never forget when a sub teacher talked down to him as he got out of the car at parent pick drop off. She crouched down and said “Hey there buddy! Ready for some yummies?!?!” and he stared at her in response and followed it with “My brother is the 2 year old, not me.”. He was in 1st grade. I think it is fair to say that he doesn’t appreciate people talking to him as if he is a small child. Unless you have personally sat and spoken with him you really can’t judge him at all. Or how I raise him. It would be like me telling you that because my experience with people says XYZ you must be a pretentious jerk. I just can’t say that unless I know you personally. It’s why I am quite annoyed when people think that a 9 year old can’t possibly have an intelligent conversation simply because of the age and the person’s experience with other children. We partially home school for this exact reason…he learns so quickly that he doesn’t need a review in most academic areas. You explain it and he grasps it. Move on to the next lesson. He is under constant evaluation because of it. His social skills are awful with other kids but when he is around adults he absolutely flourishes.

          • InTheEther July 5, 2015, 8:15 pm

            Replying to ergala.

            The cannot interact with his peers but can interact with a group who is going to handle him with kid gloves is not a good thing. Intelligence is not the same thing as social skills. I am perfectly willing to agree with you that your child is very intelligent and that sub who decided to talk to the nine year old like a toddler was stupid. But there are plenty of things that he is not learning. Like conflict resolution skills. Kids get into fights with each other and work out how to move past it. No adult is going to get into an ongoing argument with a kid. Learning how to compromise, handle other people’s feelings, etc.

            So long as he is interacting with adults the interaction is going to be tainted with said adults either having to humor the kid, or the kid having to show deference to the adult. That being his only social interactions is not going to help him. That is also why adults don’t want to talk to him. The burden is on them, as the more mature party, to keep their interaction down to a level that is appropriate for him, because even though he has the intelligence to understand bigger concepts that does not mean he has the emotional maturity to be treated as a direct peer.

        • Elisabeth July 5, 2015, 6:02 pm

          Ergala, I was considered an “extremely gifted” child. I, too, tried to converse with adults and often got shocked faces in return. I was told once, by a waitress, that I was a thirty year old inside the body of a twelve year old. Whatever that was supposed to mean.
          However, my parents never told me that I would rise to power above everyone who didn’t take me seriously. They didn’t insist I was included in every conversation, and were quick to tell me when I had overstepped boundaries and was being rude or a showoff. They certainly didn’t whip out my IQ to show off to people, and in fact they never even told me what it was.
          I have had the misfortune of interacting with people my age who believe that they are inherently better than me (and everyone else, really) simply because they are intelligent. These people have few if any friends and always made me feel very uncomfortable conversing with them. I have no doubt that your child will become one of these unpleasant people if you continue to instill in him the belief that he will lord over everyone, instead of recognizing that even if he is smarter in “x”, he can still learn a lot about “z” from people who are illiterate in “x”, and that his “x”pertise (pardon the pun) does not mean he is any better than anyone else. As others have said, he knows nothing about some topics that are relevant only to an adult’s life and therefore can’t be forced into a conversation about them.
          You mention that your child has Asperger’s Syndrome, and I suspect that that plays a significant part in you insisting everyone you interact with must accept your child immediately as an equal – if not an even greater part than his IQ. The fact of the matter is, some people don’t like talking with children (even very smart children) and some people may feel uncomfortable around individuals with behavioral disorders. You can’t change that, and forcing everyone to interact with your child on an adult level will likely leave you and him quite alienated.

          • Elisabeth July 5, 2015, 6:04 pm

            Also, maybe the reason he is socially “awful” around other children is he is already developing the feeling of superiority. Other kids don’t want him showing off how smart he is, but adults will praise him to heaven and back for being the biggest show-off he could be.

        • Goldie July 6, 2015, 8:30 am

          I dunno how I feel about this part of your comment…

          “I just remind him that someday THOSE people will be calling him Sir.”

          Um. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. And I say this as a mother of two grown children, who were both in gifted programs growing up, one is now out of college, worked for a software company for a year and just quit to work on his own project while his savings last; and the other one a sophomore in college, pursuing a degree in humanities and a few hobbies that each may or may not turn into a career. At this point, neither I nor any of them have any idea how their future will turn out, let alone whether people will be calling them Sir. One thing their father and I didn’t do was raise them with the thought that they would HAVE to parlay their above-average intelligence and talents into a high-paying or management position. I know a lot of parents of gifted children who did that, but we’re just not that kind of people. We wanted them to be fullfilled, make a difference in the world, and enjoy what they do. Sometimes this comes with gobs of cash and being called Sir, other times it comes with living with roommates and being called dude and there’s nothing wrong with either career route!

          PS I happen to be a Mensa member, have been to a few national gatherings and have made quite a few friends in that group. The number of unemployed and underemployed people in my age group in that organization is staggering. High IQ does not automatically equal material success in life, for many reasons that I’m sure people have already gone into on this thread.

        • C July 6, 2015, 10:32 am

          Your child may be brilliant and may be a high powered exec someday, but if I come over to see you it means I want to visit and have a meaningful conversation with you and not your child.

          And I can understand how he feels, because I was that child. At 11 years old I was tested with a 156 IQ and had always loved spending time with the adults instead of the other kids. But my mother often didn’t let me because she knew that certain topics would come up that just weren’t appropriate for children, no matter how “gifted” I was. I can imagine other adults he starts talking to might feel this way, who wants to talk about their marriage troubles or their controversial opinions on politics with a 9 year old?

          She also knew that I would have to learn to communicate with and make friends with my own peers because in this world, it’s not just how much you know, it’s who you know. And like you said, they may be 9 year olds now, but you never know who they could turn out to be in the future.

          • Goldie July 7, 2015, 11:44 am

            “but if I come over to see you it means I want to visit and have a meaningful conversation with you and not your child. ”

            So much this. I was reading this thread and trying to imagine a situation where I barge into my 19yo’s room when he has friends over, and try to insert myself into their conversation… nope, you don’t do that. It’s awkward and uncomfortable for all sides. What if they really came to talk about something personal (like marriage troubles) vs just small talk? They don’t know this 9yo kid, why should they be forced to confide in him?

        • luna July 6, 2015, 7:12 pm

          As someone else who grew up on the Autistic spectrum, and often felt more comfortable talking to adults than other kids, please do help him learn the skills to socialize with children his own age. I was very lucky to have a sister close to my age that I could learn from, and I don’t even want to know how bad I’d be at making friends if it weren’t for her; I have a hard enough time as it is! Yes he sounds intellectually gifted as many kids on the upper end of the spectrum tend to be, but he’ll desperately need good social skills when he grows up in order to get one of those jobs where they’re “calling him Sir” as you put it. Homeschooling’s likely a good plan (I know it was for me), but it’d be great if he had some avenue to learn the tools needed to flourish in social situations with his peers as well.

          I’ll sadly acknowledge that I’m sure some adults are like you describe. I’d guess in some cases, they’re just awkwardly dealing with a kid who has little social ability and as such probably isn’t handling the conversations very well. Unfortunately this is something he’ll have to learn to deal with since it honestly doesn’t really go away when we autistic kids grow up. If it’s happening as often as you describe, that’s something to seriously consider. Having a lot of book smarts is great, but without social skills, it’s sadly just not going to cut it in most social settings, so giving him the tools to succeed socially will likely help out a lot.

          There are unfortunately some people out there though who are wrongly dismissive of children, or who assume that any kid with a developmental delay (such as autism/asperger’s) is incapable of keeping up with a conversation, and I’m sorry you’ve run into those. I think it’s great that you’re affirming him afterward, but perhaps this can also be an opportunity to teach him how to deal positively with these kinds of people so he’ll be better able to handle similar situations going forward.

      • Fille July 2, 2015, 9:59 pm

        This website is generally thinly-veiled childfree posts.

        • admin July 3, 2015, 9:10 am

          And the child-free forums are constantly ranting about how this site is a Mecca for “breeders”. Most of the trolls that are moderated on the blog and the Ehell forum are from those child-free groups.

      • RooRoo July 2, 2015, 10:35 pm

        Because disliking someone for their skin color or ethnicity is very, very bad etiquette, to say the least.

        “Children” is a group that contains all nations, ethnicities, and colors.

        And most of us don’t dislike children in general, just the uncontrolled ones. In other words, if we thought about it for a minute, we would realize that our dislike should be directed at the parents of such children!

      • Dee July 2, 2015, 10:40 pm

        I, too, wonder how people can say they don’t like children. Children are people, and all people start as children, so not liking children really means not liking one’s own kind and one’s own self. Weird. I also wonder how people expect children to grow up healthy and well-adjusted if they frequently hear that others don’t like them for who they are. And what kind of crazy logic is it that tries to demean the next generation of people who will be our caretakers? That’s biting the hand that feeds. Dumb.

        • Jessica July 4, 2015, 1:37 am

          I dont like children and I am a mother. I love my kids, they dont live with me they live with their dad but not because of my like/dislike of children, just because thats how things turned out. I just dont like other peoples children and avoid them where possible. I am kind to other children and I would babysit for a friend in need but I dont enjoy being around children one bit unless they are my own boys. Not that my kids are better than anyone else but they are mine. You can dislike kids and still be a ‘breeder’.

          • monkeys mommy July 4, 2015, 4:07 pm

            “You can dislike kids and still be a ‘Breeder'”.

            And THAT is what is wrong with the world today. Just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD.

        • CJ July 6, 2015, 1:33 pm

          I dislike poorly behaved children and it seems over 80% of them are now a days. So I dislike children as a general statement. Why do people get up in arms over people who are not fond of children? I like tacos, you like burgers, big deal. I can handle the elderly or someone who is crazy. I do not do well with middle aged women or children. Everyone has their own preferences. Chillax

      • Elisabeth July 2, 2015, 11:20 pm

        When I am in public, I dislike being around young children. Nothing irks me more than being seated near a family with young children at a restaurant, or watching a family with young children walking into the movie theater I intend to view a movie in. Parents these days, in my opinion, do not do an adequate job teaching their child how to conduct him or herself in public – no screaming or shrieking, no tantrums, no talking during movies, no running amok or obstructing strangers’ way, et cetera. Children of certain age groups are egotistical and more concerned with what they want than how they may be acting. This has been scientifically proven and is a fact, and when combined with parents’ lack of parenting, can be quite a recipe for irritation in a public setting.
        Saying that I dislike Hindus, Rastafarians, or Norwegians is likely based off of one or a few negative interactions, or stereotypes, not scientific proof. Also, Hindus, Rastafarians, and Norwegians (when referred to in the way you described) are likely to be adults and therefore do not have the issues with personal conduct that children, solely based on their brain’s construction, have. Not to mention that “children” is not limited to one specific racial or religious group. But of course, there are exceptions to everything, and of course there are some children that are sweet angels in public – just not, from my years of experience, the majority.

        • kingsrings July 3, 2015, 2:49 pm

          Agree completely. Parents these days unfortunately seem to be much more permissive with their kids, thus making others around them dislike kids because they allow them to get away with so much. Instead of disciplining them when they act up in public, they make excuses for them.

      • RD July 3, 2015, 12:59 am

        Because the person above is stating they dislike misbehaving children (rather than children in general). Not all children misbehave, but the ones that do normally stick in a person’s mind. If a child were to walk up to the commenter with a flower, obviously they wouldn’t smack it out of their hand and curse at them, but many people who are childfree don’t want to deal with screaming children throwing tantrums, etc.

        Similarly, it’s inappropriate for me to say I hate Christians as a generalization, but it’s understandable if I say I hate the Westboro Baptist Church for their inappropriate actions or I hate those Christians who twist around their faith to be hateful.

      • Rebecca July 3, 2015, 1:09 am

        It’s a good point. I don’t particularly like children. I don’t wish them any harm or anything. And I do like some of them. But their high-pitched voices and shrieks can be like nails on a chalkboard, and especially bad if I am already suffering a headache that day. But I think the reason it’s more acceptable to say you don’t like children is exactly because everyone is a child at some point, so you aren’t really singling out a specific group of people. ALL people are children at some point. That being said, some people are truly horrified if you say you don’t like children, so I guess it’s not universally acceptable to say that. However, IMO that is their issue (the horrified people), not mine.

      • FunkyMunky July 3, 2015, 1:25 am

        Possibly the same reason that people generally agree that butterflies are lovely, but opinions on caterpillars vary from “aww, how cute” to “yuck, squish it!”

      • Lady Macbeth July 3, 2015, 3:32 am

        I don’t know if you’ve ever stated out loud that you dislike children, but the reaction you get will be very similar to saying that you are equally dismissive of a certain person because of their race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or disability. In fact, I’ve found more people are appalled that I don’t like children (though I haven’t tested out the dislike of the other factors I mentioned but have known many a person who has) and cannot seem to understand how I would not like something so precious, innocent, etc. Truthfully, I think those of us who are not fond of children are actually not fond of their parents, as when children act up, it is often due to a lack of discipline from the parents (keeping them out too late, letting them do whatever they please in public, negotiating with them rather than disciplining them, etc.) rather than being the children’s fault. But it is the screaming, squealing, messy, snotty, whining, hyper child we see and hear. And then sometimes, the parents even encourage it; I see it every day working in retail and despise it. However, I never liked children as a whole (from the time I was a child), so at least I’ve been consistent for more than 30 years.

      • Tara July 3, 2015, 6:59 am

        Childhood is a temporary affliction everyone eventually outgrows. You can’t outgrow being an ethnic group, and very few people will outgrow their religion. Saying you don’t like children doesn’t mean you will never like that person (the child), just that you don’t like them as long as they are loud, sticky, and unpredictable. It’s a lot more like saying you don’t like drunk people.

        • Ai July 7, 2015, 10:11 am

          LOL!! Now that’s an apt comparison! I wish I can like this comment.

      • Nicole July 3, 2015, 8:09 am

        I don’t see why not. We are not declaring the child to be offensive, we just don’t particularly care to be around them. Over population is a real thing – if nothing else, we are helping with that problem.

        I can’t say I would like to be in a situation where I could not politely decline to be in a situation where I was not comfortable, such as around a lot of strange children. It seems like nothing good can come of forcing people to conform to your cultural standards versus allowing them to deal with the world at a level they find comfortable. I would rather not face the choice of hermit or screaming hordes.

      • Victoria July 3, 2015, 8:15 am

        Not liking a group of people because of the behavior of (most of) the group is different than not liking a group of people because of their skin tone. Also, people who dislike kids just dislike a stage of life. One does not outgrow being Hindu, Norwegian, or Rastafarian. One outgrows being a whiny brat.

        Well, most do.

        • admin July 3, 2015, 9:02 am

          Well, actually you can “outgrow” being a member of a specific religious group.

        • Margaret July 4, 2015, 12:19 pm

          Comments on this board lead to me to the contrary conclusion that one does not outgrow being a whiny brat.

      • Lizajane July 3, 2015, 8:15 am

        I’ve asked this myself. No one answered.

      • Julia July 3, 2015, 8:15 am

        It’s considered horrible to state that you don’t like someone because of their race or religion because that’s bigoted. Finding children unpleasant isn’t bigoted. From the number of times I’ve heard someone say “it’s different when they’re yours” I gather that many parents frequently find other people’s kids annoying. I like other people’s children and find them entertaining to be around in smallish doses, but one reason I don’t have any is that I don’t want to be around them all the time.

        I am sure there are Mediterranean/Hispanic adults who don’t care for children – though you may be right that they’d hesitate to admit it, since apparently that would make them monsters in your culture.

        Shaming people for being self-aware and expressing an opinion isn’t very nice.

      • flora July 3, 2015, 8:33 am

        This is a personal theory, not fact but I susupect it’s because of two reasons; 1) Because children , especially spoiled children have somewhat consistent patterns in behavior. A high pitched whine, or little to no shame about hittig or throwing things. 2) Parents these days get very over protective about the smallest things. There was once a time where adults could gently correct a child in public and the parent would side with the adult , using them as back up or realizing that thier child is bothering someone else and they ought to correct thier child’s behavior. Now, its more likely the parents will side with the child. Which leads to not only the child not learing to behave in public but that they’re entitled to do what they want. All these things lead many child free people to decide that dealing with children isn’t worth is and try to avoid them as much as possible.

        • Nicole July 3, 2015, 12:53 pm

          That is actually a good point I did not think to raise. I get migraines and for me the triggers are loud and high pitched noises and/or overly bright or chaotic colors. Mother nature basically conditioned me with a lot of negative reinforcement to want to avoid being around children.

      • djc126 July 3, 2015, 3:21 pm

        This is a really great question and I was thinking about it this afternoon. In my view it’s actually very simple. What it comes down to is the amount of evidence you have for making your opinion.

        Almost everyone has loads of experience with children – such as children of friends or relatives, those we see on the street and, of course, we all were children once and mostly likely knew other children. As such, people usually have enough knowledge to judge whether they like them or not.

        In a similar manner, I know several people who have spent years in different countries (and so interacted with those countries’ peoples every day) and so have an opinion on what the local people are like. For example one person I know (who happens to be the most friendly, tolerant and patient person in the world) spent five years in a particular country and remarked that the people there tended to be joyless. In my eyes, that’s not being bigoted – it’s producing a valid opinion based on a sufficient level of evidence and experience. If instead they had only been to a country only once for a week’s holiday and said something about the people (whether good or bad), I would have been dubious. But if someone has been there for several years – then I reckon they’re entitled to an opinion.

        It’s the same for anything– if you have a large enough sample, you can make a decent judgement of the total population. Simple mathematics.

        Of course, that’s not to say everyone in any given category is the same and that there aren’t some (or even many) exceptions to the rule. But in the same breath, I reckon it’s perfectly legitimate to draw conclusions so long as you have a sufficient (i.e. a LARGE) amount of evidence from personal experience. Which most of us have with children.

        Myself, I’m not a fan of them (especially since there were four screaming toddlers on the flight I was on last weekend…) but then I’ve also known some really great kids too. So long as you give people the chance to disprove any negative previous experiences you have, I reckon there’s a difference between being prejudiced and being logical.

      • Ai July 7, 2015, 10:07 am

        Children are not a race or ethnicity. I’m not sure why people keep bringing this up as a valid comparison because it’s not. Children can be of different races cause they are human. But ‘Children’ is not a name of a race. I will never say I hate ‘insert race here’, because that’s bigoted and unfounded and would imply I also don’t like children of a certain race. I would have severe words when it comes to hearing a tantrum while shopping or watching a movie, being kicked in my seat on a plane, having things broken in my house, etc, whether those behaviors came from an adult or a child. However, those behaviors I listed would never be accepted from an adult of ANY race, and yet I feel like I’m suppose to be okay with them from unruly children because they are children. Which is not right in my opinion.

        That’s part of why you would hear the words “I don’t like kids”. Another reason could be that a particular adult prefers mature conversation and generally children cannot converse at that level yet.

    • Hollyhock July 2, 2015, 7:02 pm

      Agree with Amara, and also there is the dreaded “teaching moment.” I was on a lunch hour rush trip to the grocery (to pick up, I might add, a group card for a co-worker who entered hospice that day) when the woman in front of me at the self-scan decided that it was a good time — despite the six or seven people waiting for a checkout scanner — to ask little Hailey, approx 2 years old, if she could identify the color of each item being purchased. I am surprised none of us in line ended up being treated for stroke by EMS.

      It is not bigoted to admit that one does not enjoy being around junior members of the human species; that is a far cry from being bigoted against members of other races or cultures. Children are not tiny adults, they are developing people whose needs and communication styles and behavior is not on par with those of the adults of any society. That is why etiquette distinguishes between children and adults to the extent of authorizing coming-out events ranging from the debutante ball to the quincianera to even (in some families) the rite-of-passage, you’re-an-adult-now graduation party or 18th or 21st birthday.

      That is when young people are deemed to be able to assume their roles — rights AND responsibilities — in among adult society. Until then there is nothing prejudicial in adults who do not have caregiving roles to say that they prefer to limit their own social interactions to other adults.

      • Mary July 5, 2015, 9:00 am

        I’m a mom and I agree with you. Especially on the “teaching moments”. The time to be discussing the color of each item or how many of each item you have is when they are going into the cart, not when the items are coming out of the cart! Or even better, when they are being put away at home.

        If the teaching moments are going to inconvenience others, it’s not the right time.

    • InTheEther July 6, 2015, 3:25 pm

      The logical answer to me is that, just biologically and socially, kids do not have a fully developed superego. All humans start out at the ‘everything in the world revolves around me’ stage and work up to fully realized empathy. Most of the people that get burned on this site have the same traits that young children have, the difference being that they should know better while with children you can let things slide because they’re learning. For the most part I find that the decent people who say they don’t like being around children the issue is that they have less patience for this learning process and that behavior grates on them more.

  • Anna July 2, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Well this submission is a bit ironic, isn’t it.

  • mark July 2, 2015, 12:18 pm

    I’m with admin, I walk fast and if I beat you to the front, I beat you. I’m not going push people down or jump in front of you, but if I get to the front first I’m not going to apologize.

    I’ve got places to go people to talk to things to, and people sauntering in front of me are going to get passed. On the flip side I have no problem waving someone with one item ahead of me if I’ve got a full cart.

    • JJ July 2, 2015, 9:16 pm

      Fully agreed with you. Some people are saying it’s rude but I don’t see how it is. It’s basic sense: if you are in public walking on a sidewalk behind a slow walker be it a parent, an older person, a cell phone texter or just a slow walker do you not walk around that person or say excuse me to get ahead of them? When I walk on a sidewalk and sense a fast walker behind me coming who wants to get by I move over so they can go by me. I’m not mad at them for daring to go by me or beat me to a register line up I assume they are faster so I let them go ahead. You can’t expect people to just all get stuck behind you in public because you are walking slow. I see a lot of parents out with little ones and truth is they do walk slow sometimes because preschoolers can be slow and like to look at everything. I won’t even apologize for the number of times I have speed walked past people in stores or near the register line because they are slow. If people were actually pushing people over or saying rude things like “Move it!” then I’d agree it’s rude if you are being mean or intentionally trying to push people down. But not everyone wants to wait for a toddler to toddle slowly or a cellphone user to gawk at their texts instead of look in front of their face where they are walking.

    • Ashley July 3, 2015, 12:59 pm

      I’m on the same page as you, I walk fast. I have friends who are taller than me and have longer legs and a longer stride so I’ve taken to walking fast in order to keep up. I often forget to switch it off when I’m with people who are the same height as me or have a shorter stride. So if I get there first, I’m sorry, but that’s just how I opporate.

    • Kate July 3, 2015, 8:22 pm

      That is a good point. I’m a fast walker and I will regularly move around slower people on the street or on shopping centres. If that person and I are both going to the same destination and I get there first, I’m not going to apologise for being tall with long legs that like to go fast.

    • Goldie July 6, 2015, 8:36 am

      Good point. Same here. That’s how I walk. What else are we supposed to do, stop and wait?

      In OP’s story though, we don’t know whether the man deliberately cut her off or not. It’s hard to tell from OP’s letter.

  • AMC July 2, 2015, 12:19 pm

    Admin is right that waiting your turn is just part of life and an inconvenience we all have to deal with. There is something to be said though for people who let others go ahead of them when they know their turn will take extra time. I’ve had people offer to let me go ahead of them in the checkout line when they see I only have one or two items and they have a cartload, and I occasionally do the same for others. Not that anyone is obligated to do this, and this is why some stores have express lanes, but it’s a nice and considerate gesture.

  • Brenda July 2, 2015, 12:22 pm

    Sure, what the guy did was legal, but it was not polite, nor acceptable. If you know that you have several issues to solve, then cutting in front of someone who is obviously heading to the same line is rude. He knew he had fines, that there were problems with his card, that his issues would not be solved in a few minutes.

    Every day, during my commute to work, I have to cross a bridge and pay a toll. Since I have been doing this for many years, I cannot tell you the number of times I have had someone cut across multiple lanes to get into the shorter lane in front of me, then not have their money ready. I can tell you that the majority of these line cutters are men. There’s a definite patriarchal attitude that their time is more important than anyone else’s.

    I’ll never forget the night I had to go into work for an issue at about 9 pm. There were only two lanes open, separated by two closed lanes. As I approach the tolls on the far right lane, another driver cut over from the other open lane into the lane in front of me. There was only one car in the other lane, and it left by the time he cut into my lane. He then proceeds to fumble with his wallet and find his money (only $1 at that time) for so long, that I finally leaned out my window, held up $2, and yelled, “I’ll pay.” The toll taker was laughing by the time I got to his window.

    I’ve had similar things happen in bus queues, at grocery checkouts, and similar areas where you have to queue, and it’s easily 80% men cutting, or trying to cut, the line.

    • GreenQueen July 3, 2015, 2:07 am

      Thanks Brenda, I thought it was just me! As a short, youngish and very casually dressing female I seem to turn invisible to men, particularly those in suits, when it comes to lines. I travel a lot and it happens in airports all the time but I make a point of either just pushing ahead of them again with a pointed death glare or very loudly telling them the end of the line is behind me.

    • Ulla July 3, 2015, 4:00 am

      Except he might have not known his card had problems and that he had fines. And in addition, he had no way knowing that lady with huge pile of books and toddler in tow would not have problems with card and fines too.

      I’m bit on the edge with if it’s rude or not and a lot of it depends on the setting. Say, two persons are approacing the checkout in relatively wide entry hall where you can come from different directions, still having some distance to cover. I don’t think walking fast and optimizing your route is not rude in that situation. Pushing past in narrow corridor might be, as one can think that the line starts forming from the beginning of the corridor leading to the checkout. Or I think it would be also rude if the other person already was in “greeting” distance from the checkout and then somebody pushes past. But these are very fine lines.

      • KenderJ July 6, 2015, 6:59 pm

        The OP says he had to dodge around the book display (that OP and daughter stood next to waiting their turn). This tells me that he did it deliberately. I think take out the toddler, take out the million problems with his card and all of the other extraneous information, he deliberately dodged around someone in order to beat her to the circulation desk when it was obvious she was heading there. That is rude in my book.

        • Cami July 7, 2015, 10:14 am

          I agree. I think people are so focused on the fact that the OP had a child that they are ignoring the fact that the man deliberately cut her off. That is rude.

    • Anonymouse July 4, 2015, 11:16 am

      I will disagree with you on the “patriarchal” nature of the problem, as it’s based on anecdotal evidence that does not match up with my own… Of the last five people that have cut in front of me in line, all of them have been women. Similarly, the vast majority of the people that have cut me off in traffic have been women (the Mary Kay saleswomen in my area are all repeat offenders). In my experience, the numbers are about 90% women, and only 10% men.

      I think it’s best to say that both men and women can be entitled line cutters and call it a day, rather than attributing the problem to any one gender. Unless, of course, you can provide some sort of citation proving your experience is the norm.

      • Brenda July 5, 2015, 9:46 pm

        They did a study in our area on the rudest drivers. Part of the study was watching cars who didn’t use turn signals, cut off other drivers, and similar. They would then attempt to find out the age, gender and race of the offender. Overwhelmingly, it was men, especially white men, in their 50s and 60s.

        So, sure, I have anecdotal evidence, even though I’ve been collecting this evidence for 18 years, but there are also studies that back up my observations.

        • Anonymouse July 24, 2015, 8:32 pm

          Source? Your description of the study sounds sketchy at best (only done in one area, “attempted” to find the demographics of the drivers, no mention of the means of data collection or the criteria used, etc.), and I would really like to verify the facts. There are so many factors to consider when a claim is made beyond “there was a study; this was the conclusion,” which is why it’s so crucial to provide your sources rather than expecting me to take your word for it.

          You also claim that “studies” (multiple) back up your claims, but only describe one (singular) paper. This leads me to believe you only have one study to back you up, but are trying to make me believe there are mountains of evidence that I’m missing.

          You could be correct, but my 24 years experience is directly contrary to your claims, and I am very interested in obtaining the facts.

          As a side note, the only reason this came up is because you attribute entitled behaviour to a single group, based on a characteristic they cannot control, is discriminatory (saying the problem is “patriarchal” heavily implies that the attitude is inherent to men), especially without significant evidence. In my opinion, whether based on fact or anecdotes, sexist comments such as this have no place on an etiquette site. There was no reason whatsoever to bring gender into the discussion, as both males and females can (and do) cut in lines.

          • Anonymouse July 24, 2015, 11:50 pm

            Followup: I have managed to track down a study similar to the one you described here:


            A couple notes which would affect the outcome. First, the sample size was enormously skewed, with males outnumbering females by a very large margin (1879;298 in the first sample set, and 5440;1760 in the control group). This is consistent with the numbers of men vs. women actually driving on the road.

            Second, information was recorded based on the drivers “perceived” age, gender, race, and “vehicle status” (low, medium, or high — no criteria given for what constituted each category). Basically, the information was recorded based on the researcher’s quick glance into the drivers side as they drove by… not a reliable means of data collection, especially in areas such as “perceived age and race,” which are subjective and can vary wildly between observers.

            Third, the study measured five behaviours considered “aggressive” by the researchers. While most of these behaviours are objectively illegal and aggressive, such as passing on the shoulder, the behaviours listed include “a short honk of the horn” and “a long honk of the horn.” In some cases, these behaviours might indicate aggression, but not in all (or even most). The horn is there for a reason, and both long and short honks can be used to alert other drivers of potential dangers (example, honking at someone about to sideswipe your vehicle as a way of saying “hey, I’m here! Stay where you are!”). In some cases, the horn is used in ways unrelated to driving. For example, it’s common behaviour for people to be stuck in traffic and see someone they know– so they honk the horn to get that person’s attention. Note: this is not appropriate or encouraged driving behaviour. Again, the horn is there for a reason.

    • Cat July 7, 2015, 8:52 pm

      I had a lady cut in front of me in the lane where, if you have a transponder, you don’t stop at all. She did not have a transponder and came to a full stop, got out and went to talk to the lady in the booth at another lane.
      We have had people killed because they stopped in one of those lanes and a truck was unable to stop in time to keep from hitting them.

  • Michelle July 2, 2015, 12:37 pm

    “She was right on the edge (it was just about bedtime, so not surprised) ”

    You stayed at the library until your daughter was tired and ready for bed and admit it, then got mad because someone else got to the counter first? I get it- I’ve had cranky toddlers before and it’s not fun waiting behind someone who takes what seems like forever, but you feel entitled to go first because you had a cranky toddler and “only” needed to check out? Would you feel the same if your daughter was not tired and cranky?

    • iwadasn July 4, 2015, 10:57 am

      I lost sympathy for the OP when I read that, too. She chose to wait until her daughter was on the edge of a meltdown before she even went to get in line to check out. What if there had already been a long line of people? Would she have expected them all to let her cut to the front just because she waited until her daughter’s bedtime to leave? Cranky children can be a hassle, but parents can’t expect everyone around them to accommodate their lack of planning.

  • Jessica July 2, 2015, 12:40 pm

    The guy wasnt finding as many issues as he could in order to bug you, he was taking care of the business he needed to take care of, YOU sound like the entitled one. I have had cranky toddlers, and having cranky toddlers does not allow you to fast track through anything faster than anyone else. It was the guys turn so you wait your turn.

  • WillyNilly July 2, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Someone had to get to the line first. Just because he “totally saw [you] heading to the counter” doesn’t mean he “cut”; he was faster, took a more efficient route and got there first.

  • Shoegal July 2, 2015, 1:06 pm

    Here is some advise. Either you get upset over stuff like this or you make the decision not to. There is this 3 way intersection. One lane leads out from a shopping center – has a stop sign. The other two lanes on either side have stops signs as well. All three lead into another section where there is a light. There is always several people waiting at the stop signs for their turn once the light changes. NOBODY waits their turn despite the stop signs. They are all in mad rush to make the light. It is maddening but I know it will happen every single time I sit there. What to do? Either avoid the intersection altogether – which would be a pain – or just accept that every single time I am sitting there somebody will not stop at the stop sign and wait to take their turn. One day after fuming over it – just so angry!!!! AWWW!!! – I just about let it ruin my day. I thought – hey – no surprise, this happens every single time – so why am I getting so upset over it? I’m getting upset over what, traffic? Waiting? That was the last time. To be honest, OP, if I saw you heading for the check out line at the library with a toddler and a stack of books, I’d try to get there sooner too.

    • Kirsten July 3, 2015, 2:03 pm

      I have lost count of the number of motorists who have overtaken me unsafely when I’m cycling, just to get to the red traffic light two seconds earlier.

      • Rob aka Mediancat July 6, 2015, 1:16 pm

        I would never overtake illegally or unsafely, but there have been times I’ve safely pulled around someone, gotten to the traffic light two seconds earlier, and been the recipient of a smug look from the person behind me (not saying you were handing out smug looks), and not cared, because I overtake someone only when they’re going significantly slower than the road speed, and even if we end up at the same light, with the person I passed right behind me, I’m still ahead of them now, rather than behind them.

      • Goldie July 6, 2015, 2:26 pm

        This is a whole different can of worms we’re about to open here. In my area, very very few roads have wide enough bike lanes. So a motorist doesn’t really have a choice but overtake, safely or not. I don’t really know of a safe way to overtake a bicycle that is in the same lane as yours if it’s a two-lane road or if there’s heavy traffic. Their only other option is to drive behind you, far below the speed limit (according to wikipedia, average speed for a cyclists is around 10mph; a racing bicycle can get up to 25mph on flat ground for short periods) creating a line of cars behind them, which imo is even more unsafe. It is what it is. It sucks for everyone involved. They’re not doing it to get to a red light two seconds earlier, they’re doing it to avoid being a traffic hazard.

    • Goldie July 6, 2015, 8:39 am

      This sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I’d avoid this intersection just to be safe.

      Unless the man in OP’s story weighed several tons and was made of metal, though, her situation was different and so I agree with your advice.

      • Devin July 7, 2015, 9:40 am

        Yes!! The man in the post is now Line Cutting Iron Man!! I can see this toy popping up just in time for Xmas.

  • Lila July 2, 2015, 1:11 pm

    Conceivably the OP could have presented the librarian with a laundry list of things she needed corrected on her account too. It’s a bit presumptuous to assume that the man ahead of her should have known the the only business of which she need to take care was checking out books. He can’t tell by looking at her that she has no fines, holds, or other issues. He perhaps could have asked her but he is under no obligation to do so and really, etiquette-wise he was not out of line. It sounds like all his questions were regular library business.

  • Heather July 2, 2015, 1:11 pm

    I agree with you Admin. This reminds of a sort-of similar story. I was at a department store, at the office counter: where you can pay your store card bill, get your parking validated, stuff like that. There were about 3 or four of us in line, at around 3 on a Saturday afternoon. All of a sudden, a woman comes in in a frenzy, with two kids in tow. The kids were fine, the woman was not. She was obviously stressed and harried, yet her kids were calm. She asked us all collectively, somewhat rhetorically, if we minded if she went first, because you know… kids. Someone else said, “Lady, your kids seem fine. You’ll have to wait.” She didn’t throw a fit or anything, but she was miffed. It was as if her kids were her automatic get out of jail free card, even though she wasn’t in even a metaphoric jail.

  • Dee July 2, 2015, 1:13 pm

    That guy could have written the same complaint as you, OP, had you made it to the checkout first. One of you had to be first, so why not him? His needs were legitimate and are the same as potentially every other library patron. Every outing with a child is a potential meltdown for them, so this is not a unique situation. What makes you so special?

    • SJ July 2, 2015, 5:52 pm

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. He could say she rushed to get ahead if him, had a long stack of books, and everything took longer because of the toddler.

  • just4kicks July 2, 2015, 1:27 pm

    Someone sped up to get in line in front of a (you said so yourself) cranky toddler?!?
    I can’t believe it!
    I thought it was going to read he pushed you or your toddler to get there first, which would’ve been very wrong.
    Walking faster to get there first??? Eh, not so wrong in my book.
    I have had my share of “end of the day errands” with tired/not feeling little ones and its very taxing, I agree on that point.

  • just4kicks July 2, 2015, 1:29 pm

    Not feeling WELL little ones, that should have said…..

  • ladyv July 2, 2015, 1:31 pm

    Ah yes, the ever-popular parental entitlement mentality. I love her assumption that the other library patron “totally saw us heading to the counter”. I have news for her – if the guy noticed her at all, it was probably because, as Admin said, he saw she had a stack of books and didn’t want to wait behind her. And I agree with Admin – why in the world did she wait until her child was “right on the edge” before getting ready to check out her books? I’m wondering how much time she had spent at the library – if she picked up her daughter right after work, that would probably be around 6:00, and if it was “just about bedtime”, that would make it 8:00 or so. Who spends almost two hours at a library with a toddler, unless it’s for story hour – which would be in the daytime when the little ones would actually be awake?

    • Anonymous July 2, 2015, 8:03 pm

      Our public library has “Bedtime Stories For Children,” where the parents take their kids for story time in their pajamas, and then home afterwards. I’ve also seen Sparks (Canadian equivalent of Daisy Scouts) meet in the evenings in the large meeting room at the library. This is great for working parents, because it means that they can take their preschoolers and early elementary-school children to story time or Sparks or whatever, after they’re finished with work. They also have story time, music group, crafts, puppet shows, after school Lego club, et cetera, for children in the daytime, but that really only works for stay-at-home parents, which isn’t the reality for a lot of families. So, for working parents, a lot of the time, if they waited for their child’s optimal waking time to take them to the library, they’d never go.

      Anyway, on another topic, why is everyone referring to the OP’s four-year-old daughter as a “toddler?” She’s not; she’s four, which is on the older end of “preschooler.” In fact, here in Ontario, four-year-olds have the option of attending full-day junior kindergarten. Most four-year-olds are daytime potty-trained, they can ride bikes with training wheels, draw (simple) recognizable pictures, play games with rules, play on organized sports teams or take dance or gymnastics, and they’re very much “big kids,” and they’ll tell you so. Heck, I could read when I was four, and I loved the library. So, maybe the OP’s daughter is the same way–maybe the OP figured that the library would be a low-risk outing, even in the evening, because it was a place her daughter enjoyed.

      • LadyV July 3, 2015, 6:22 pm

        I stand corrected on the use of “toddler” for a four year old – but I’m blaming my error on the submission title!

      • Lisa July 6, 2015, 10:01 am

        I totally agree. I can’t stand it when people refer to kids of this age as toddlers. My 4.5-yo has been in pre-K for more than a year. She’s a preschooler.

    • ErinAnn July 3, 2015, 1:54 am

      Hahaha! Wow. Those are nice assumptions you’ve made.

  • AIP July 2, 2015, 1:51 pm

    Arragh, I can beat that fella’s selfishness just from this morning.
    I was pulling into the petrol station, and made my way around a car parked at one pump to get to the empty pump in front. I noted the (old enough to know better) driver, probably a man in his 60s, getting in and assumed he’d finished paying. As I was manoeuvring in in front of the front of his car I noticed it moving towards me! I stopped and reversed to let him past (which meant I was at a weird angle and could’ve blocked others from getting to the left-hand fill pumps beside me.

    THEN I noticed the clown actually pulling up at the front pump. I wound up having to back to the pump behind. And getting a look from him as he pumped. I was getting more petrol than him and he pulled away before I was finished. I looked at his pump as I was going and the fool nearly caused a crash over less than 4 litres (about 1 US gallon, or less than 1 UK gallon) of diesel!! Saints preserve us!

    • just4kicks July 3, 2015, 2:47 am

      @AIP: Grandma, is that you?!? 🙂
      I just had to comment, my grandma used to say “saints preserve us” all the time.

      • AIP July 4, 2015, 8:17 am

        Eat yer broccoli Kickkie, and don’t tell your mammy about those sweeties I got you! 😉

        • just4kicks July 7, 2015, 1:32 am

          @AIP: Awwww, thanks Grammy….our secret! 😉

  • K July 2, 2015, 1:59 pm

    I agree with Admin. Lots of presumption going on here. OP acts as though the man knew that OP’s interaction would take a shorter time than his and that OP’s daughter was staying up past her bedtime. OP also makes the interesting assumption that the man had no pressing demands on his own time.

  • JWH July 2, 2015, 2:01 pm

    It’s not like he leaped over a book display and barreled through stacked books, tripping over himself to be first.

    Whenever I go, I can’t get in line until I best the champion in mortal combat.

    I have to fight Conan the Librarian.

  • JWH July 2, 2015, 2:03 pm

    In seriousness, I think it would have been gallant of him to yield up a place in line to OP. But on the other hand, I don’t think “I have a fussy child” is a “Move to the Front of the Line” card.

    • Miss-E July 3, 2015, 11:11 pm

      It’s similar to letting someone with a few items cut in front of you – it’s a really nice thing to do but nobody is under any obligation to do it and it’s not rude to keep your place in line.

  • Skaramouche July 2, 2015, 2:33 pm

    On the fence about this one. The entitled attitude is definitely irritating, OP. No one owes it to you to make life easier for your 4 year old.

    However, I do find it kind of rude when people KNOW you are going to a checkout and they speed up so that they get there before you. I don’t mean situations where two people just happen to be heading in the same direction. I mean I am going to a checkout, I make eye contact with someone else who has just started looking for a checkout line and can see that I am already angled towards the one they are considering. I could run at breakneck speed with my cart to ensure that I am there first but I have more dignity and decency than that :P. I understand that this is a trivial thing and on occasion, people just don’t realize but there are times when they definitely DO realize and nonchalantly pretend ignorance. It’s not a huge deal either way but it does tell me something about the quality of the person.

    • Ergala July 2, 2015, 9:25 pm

      That is a pet peeve of mine too. I always have to refrain from running my cart into them and saying “Oh whoops! I didn’t see you as I was getting in line”.

    • just4kicks July 3, 2015, 3:02 am

      @Skaramouche: My husband and two of our kids were in grocery store a few weeks ago, doing our normal weekly shopping, and, getting supplies for our son’s grad picnic.
      It was Fathers day weekend, and they had great sales on soda and other picnic goodies.
      We had two full carts, and the place was very busy with every checkout line open.
      Quite a few of us were waiting in a line, while an employee would direct us to the next open clerk.
      We were next to be called, and behind us was a elderly lady with too many items for the “12 or less”line, but much less than what we had.
      When a line opened up, the employee looked at us and said “Go ahead to line 7, folks”.
      As we started to push our carts towards the check out, the “lady” behind us yelled “are you f@cking kidding me?!? They have TWO carts and I ONLY have TWO items (I counted about 20)!!! I SHOULD BE CALLED FIRST, you dumb bitch!!!”
      We just kind of froze in place, the employee’s jaw hit the floor, and everyone turned to stare at her.
      The employee said, “they were next in line…you’ll have to wait your turn, ma’am.”
      “This is bullshit! I have somewhere to be!”
      My husband turned to her and said, “So do we, and so does everyone else patiently waiting their turn.
      Before you dropped the “F” bomb in front of my children, I WAS going to let you in front of us….now I don’t care if you stand here all day!!!”

      • Mary July 3, 2015, 10:42 am

        I just want to go to a grocery store where there is one line and the next customer gets directed to the next open clerk! I always pick the wrong line at the store and people who got into other lines after me are usually leaving before me.

        I love that Target and Kohls have that system during the holidays but I wish it would catch on in other stores.

        • Goldie July 6, 2015, 8:44 am

          We have a store where the next customer gets directed to the next open clerk, and I’m usually that customer. Well guess what, by the time I go around to the open checkout with my groceries, nine times out of ten someone who just walked up to the checkout area, gets there before me! And I can’t really blame them because they don’t see me coming. Sometimes the open-checkout clerk will hold the first spot in line for me, but most of the time, they don’t. I’m pretty much at the point where I’d rather stay in my own line than take my chances.

      • Asharah July 3, 2015, 12:26 pm

        Reminds me of a radio add where the woman say something about being in a grocery line and the woman behind asked to go first because she only had three items. So she’s let ahead, only she has to write a check (long before debit cards) and her ID is locked in her car…Well you get the idea.

      • Miss-E July 3, 2015, 11:14 pm

        Wow I think I ran into that lady earlier today! She jumped in front of me in line at a butcher’s counter and when I said “excuse, I was next” she began to scream, really and truly SCREAM “NO I AM NEXT! IT IS MY TURN! I AM NEXT!”

        Unfortunately, the butcher was not helpful like your cashier and just sort of stared between us and asked “well, who’s next?” I told him to take her saying (not polite, I know) “better let her go before her heart gives out with all that screaming.”

        Then she screamed at the butcher awhile and told me to “choke on it” as she left. Joke’s on her, the meat was for my dog (he gets scared by the Fourth of July fireworks and I feel guilty so I make him a special meal).

        • kingsrings July 4, 2015, 2:33 pm

          When dealing with strangers like that who are so crazy, it’s often times better to just let them have their way than continue to argue with them, thus fueling their crazy meter even more so. No, it’s not fair, but it’s a total stranger who you’ll never have to see it again, so just let it go.

      • monkeys mommy July 4, 2015, 4:31 pm

        I have had the check out experience too! I was in a famous “big box store” that has groceries and normal home goods. I hate said store, because of the clientele it sometimes attracts, but every now and then I brave it. This particular day, I was coming down the lane towards an open check out. This particular store has two checkout stands in each “row”, meaning there is also space running horizontally between the lanes of checkers. As I approaching the open register, which was the 2nd one in the lane, an elderly woman came flying between the rows of checkout lanes, cutting me off in the process.

        Now, there was no mistaking where I was heading, as the first register in the line was closed, and it was a full on check out lane; I would not have been just walking down the lane with a full cart. I admit it, I snidely mentioned that she cut me off. She rolled her eyes at me and told me to get over it. I managed to keep my mouth shut the remainder of her transaction, though I plead guilty that I may have told her to have a nice day pissing off others when she left. I asked the store attendant why she did not do something about it, and she just shrugged. Sigh.

        My point is, OP, that I get where you are coming from- I have SEEN actions like the man in questions in person, and it is possible (likely, even) that he knew he was cutting you off. Is that rude? Yes. BUT- your child has nothing to do with the story. Who cares if you had a toddler in tow(really, a 4 year old is a pre-schooler, but I digress)? Would it be any less rude if he cut just you off? Or anyone else? Nope. A kid is not an excuse to get a “front of the line” pass every where you go. And if you waited too late to leave the library without accounting for possible lines or traffic, that is on you. This is coming from the mother of a four year old boy, by the way.

        • Mary July 5, 2015, 9:05 am

          I agree completely! He might have been rude in cutting you off. Sometimes it’s very obvious when someone is doing that, I’ve had it many times myself.

          However, what he had to do at the counter, the time of day and that your child was with you had nothing to do with it.

        • C July 6, 2015, 11:11 am

          As for why the attendant did not do something about it, there are several reasons:

          1: She may have been too preoccupied with something else to notice the lady cut you off, like if she was checking out someone else at the time it happened. She may not have known there was a problem until you said something.

          2. I know, from my previous experience in big box retail, you can’t tell a customer who is already in line to get out of line unless they are doing something really outrageous (assaulting another customer, stealing) Even then, sometimes management will side with a customer even if they are assaulting an employee (I’ve witnessed this firsthand) because it comes down to corporate policy and dollars earned. Line cutting is simply not considered a “kick out of line” offense.

          3. Kicking someone out of line implies that you are denying that person service, which many cashiers do not have the power to do. (See #2)

          4. When I was an 18 year old cashier at big box retailer, I would have been scared witless at the thought of kicking someone out of line that clearly had an anger control problem, even if it was a little old lady. Not just for my safety, but the thought that lady would go to my manger and I would get in trouble and possibly lose my job because they are more likely to believe her than me.

          There are cameras at every check out, at least where I worked, but they are aimed at the cashiers and not at the customers.

        • Arwen July 6, 2015, 12:54 pm

          I had almost the exact same scenario happen at the same big box store. I had been in line for a while when a couple came up sideways and tried to cut in front of the woman in front of me (there were 3 or 4 people behind me too, in a normal straight checkout line). The lady in front of me had a deer in the headlights look, so I piped up and said politely, “ma’am, the line is back here”. She said she had been in line. I told that we’d all been here for a while already and I saw her walk up after others hand gotten in line.

          She then proceeded to throw her hands up in the air and loudly tell her husband that she couldn’t take it anymore and a she needed to calm down or she was going to punch someone in the face. Normally I’d have called her on that too and gotten security involved, but I was wearing my 4 month old daughter in a carrier on my chest and walked away at that point to find another line because I take a risk. Who on earth threatens a woman with a small infant over a place in line?

  • Ergala July 2, 2015, 3:14 pm

    I have to disagree with the Admin on this. When there are people behind me I try to stick to really important stuff and deal with the rest later. I doubt he absolutely had to know right then what books he had checked out (shouldn’t he already know this?) and if there was a dispute on a book being checked out in his name he could have said “I see there are people waiting behind me, I’ll just check this out for now and wait until the line clears”. Libraries aren’t like stores where there are multiple lanes and the lines don’t seem to slow down. I am sure after a few minutes people would be checked out and he could continue his business without holding up other people waiting to simply check out a book.

    This reminds me of the people whom go to the drive up window at the bank on a Saturday and have around 10 transactions to do. Often times there is only one drive up lane going and the lobby is closed on the weekend. So you sit and wait, sometimes for as long as 20 minutes (I once waited 45 minutes I kid you not….I could hear the whole thing, in the end the guy drove off without even completing his transactions.). If I am up in line and I see people behind me I try to get through as quickly as I can, if there is something more in depth I want to know I go to customer service.

    • ally July 2, 2015, 5:51 pm

      That’s your choice, but it’s not rude to fully complete a transaction while you are there.

      There was either a thread or a post a while ago, about mailing multiple packages at a busy post office during the busy holiday season, and many responses were along the lines of “if you (general) are being as efficient as possible (having the stamps already on, addresses filled out, etc) it’s not rude to have a large transaction.” In grocery stores, people don’t check out in short little bursts, while letting people go in between. Letting one person go ahead of you if they only have 1 item is kind, but not required. Purposely breaking up an order/transaction sounds needlessly tedious. And in this situation, there was no way of knowing who would have the shorter transaction just by looking.

      And from the sound of the post, it doesn’t appear to me that the guy was causing a scene, arguing endlessly with the clerk, making her run to the shelves and grab books for him, or otherwise acting entitled. He had business, and he completed it. I’m sure this OP would have mentioned any particularly bad behavior.

      • Ergala July 2, 2015, 9:23 pm

        Um it’s not a choice. It’s how I was raised, to not act like a neanderthal in public. I was raised where I am aware of how my actions impact others. I scrutinize my every move to make sure I am not impacting someone else needlessly. I try to maneuver that way through life so that I can just kind of glide by without being noticed. Whenever I am in the hospital I do whatever I can myself and usually I am apologizing when I ring for a nurse. One time my IV blew and I deliberated with myself for an hour if I should call the nurse or wait for her to come back in when she was checking to make sure everything was okay. By the time I decided to ring her my hand was huge and swollen with fluids. Whoops. I apologized for not ringing and then apologized for ringing. Today I felt horrible because I ordered my toast lightly buttered and when it arrived it was slathered. The waitress was clearly training and when I saw it as she put it down I kind of examined it and she said “Is that too much?” to which I said “I am so sorry but yes…I ordered it lightly buttered….”. it was so thick that it wasn’t even melting. She brought it back and I could hear the waitress training her getting after her about needing to write on the ticket special orders like that. She brought two more slices and they were just as bad. I hate butter…I hate it so so so much. If it’s melted I like it but not when it’s still solid. I simply shut up and ate it. And felt sick.

        • Airelenaren July 3, 2015, 9:36 am

          Right, those are choices you made. And choices nobody _has_ to make, nor do I think people _should_ make – but that’s the thing about choices: I can disagree with yours, but not dictate them. You can disagree with people’s choice to take their own business/health/preferences as seriously as the next person’s and act accordingly, but you cannot dictate that these people must do things your way.

        • Julia July 3, 2015, 9:54 am

          It is entirely your choice to act like a martyr.

          I know women are socialized to put everyone else’s needs first but it is not a virtue to do so to the point of causing yourself medical problems or making yourself feel sick.

          People who find their own needs valid aren’t Neanderthals.

        • Vic July 3, 2015, 12:20 pm

          I have a real problem with your post Ergala. First you implied that anyone who chooses to complete their entire transaction at once is a Neanderthal. Just because people think differently than you does not make them cavemen. Secondly, the examples you gave to show how “considerate” you are are actually very disturbing. Not asking a waitress to correct a mistake made with your food is bad enough. But, not calling for a nurse when you have a medical issue isn’t polite. It’s ridiculous. Your brand of being polite is what I call being a doormat and does nothing but encourage impolite people to take advantage of you.

        • Miss-E July 3, 2015, 11:01 pm

          You aren’t being polite in these scenarios, you are being ridiculous. Not calling your nurse when you blow an IV is not polite, its timid to a dangerous degree! Saying that you “try to maneuver that way through life so that I can just kind of glide by without being noticed” is not an example of politeness. It’s not rude to exist.

        • Sarah July 4, 2015, 2:37 am

          I cannot understand why you did not use the knife to remove the un-melted butter. Yes, you could have asked the waitress for the umpteenth time but I can understand timidity. If you were allergic to something you would not eat it – so why eat 3 times the amount of butter you wanted when you could have eaten, say, 1 and a half? To get personal – if you were a friend of mine I would advise a confidence course, risking your health and well-being is a step too far!

        • Rebecca July 4, 2015, 5:00 am

          I agree with you to a point – I try to act in a way that does not negatively impact others. For me, that means playing my music quietly and not outside, not stomping around loudly when I live above someone, etc.

          It does not mean I will extend the number of errands I have to do by coming back at a later date to deal with a complicated transaction. Once I’m there in a place of business, I want to do everything I need to do so I don’t have to come back. I am too busy to have to come back all the time, and it’s a waste of time, gas to get there, effort, etc. (Though in the OP, can’t most of what this man wanted be done on-line nowadays? And “I don’t use the internet” is right up there with “I don’t own a phone” these days).

          • Kate July 5, 2015, 12:35 am

            Rebecca, I agree with you as well, but not everyone has and can afford to own a computer and pay for internet service. I grew up in a community where many families were too poor to afford a computer, never mind internet service as well. The only computers they had access to were at the local high school, for students and staff only, or the single computer at the tiny, privately funded local library that had extremely odd hours.

            As well, that many small libraries do not have websites. And when they do it is not always possible to do everything you need to do on them. My “local” library now is actually one branch of a huge chain of 32 or so connected libraries, and you can do anything from requesting books to renewing holds on their website. They updated their website and you can’t pay overdue fees on the new one yet, you have to follow a link to the old one. It’s not a lot of trouble or anything, but the update was only SIX short months ago. ; ) I guess even a massive library chain with lots of resources has trouble sometimes, which really surprised me.

            TL;DR I completely agree with you, but not everyone has internet access or computer access, and not every library has a website.

        • Anonymouse July 4, 2015, 11:53 am

          All of those are choices you made. How you were raised has an effect on the choices a person makes, but no amount of child rearing will completely eliminate a person’s autonomy.

          And frankly, many of your choices sound unhealthy… it’s not impolite to expect others to do their jobs properly (ex. nurses are THERE to take care of patients, and waitresses are there to bring the food you ordered). It’s rude to yell or insult these people when they are not performing to your standards, but it is not rude to simply say “Excuse me, but I think there’s a problem with my IV/there is still too much butter on my toast. Could you fix that for me?” If they are not willing to help you, they are in the wrong field.

          More importantly, it’s not impolite to make your own physical wellbeing a priority to you. It’s actually very common for choking victims or people in accidents to hide from others, so they don’t inconvenience other people. This behaviour kills people. If someone else were in medical distress, I would WANT to know about it, so I can do what I can to help. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take care of yourself — don’t make yourself sick to avoid being a burden on other people.

        • Setesuyara July 4, 2015, 11:57 pm

          Just because you expect other people to do these things does not mean that they are wrong or rude NOT to do them. It’s perfectly polite and reasonable to exist, do business that might take a little longer than 5 mins, request corrections to mistakes someone makes, and ask for help. One isn’t a “neanderthal” because they choose to live their lives.

          Since when is it even remotely expected that polite behaviour means “people shouldn’t even notice you exist, ever”?

        • InTheEther July 5, 2015, 3:07 am

          Well, most people have already said what I was going to respond with.

          Seriously though, have you talked to someone about this behavior? Like, a professional someone? Because, you have basically stated that you think it is rude to see to your own well being in any form if there is a possibility of it inconveniencing someone else, be it astronomical gas costs since you make multiple trips to the same places to get errands done rather than getting them all done the first time or putting your LIFE AT RISK because you were afraid of pulling a nurse away from something important.

          Think of this. A certain amount of selfishness is necessary in life because if you don’t take care of yourself then you’ll only wind up being an even greater burden than you would’ve otherwise been (I wonder what your SO thinks about all that gas money down the drain, and I’ll put money on the fact that several hospital employees had to do extra work because you were too timid to press the call button about a legitimate issue). There’s a huge gulf between this and being an entitled jerk.

        • C July 6, 2015, 1:08 pm

          No, I’m sorry. You’re not being polite, you’re being a pushover. And based on your hospital story, one that will make you a victim of Darwinism. It is not impolite to ring a nurse when you are sick or when a hospital machine malfunctions; it is in their job description to care for their patients and make them as comfortable as possible, not to mention to make sure they don’t die for stupid reasons on their watch. What would not be polite, would be to scream at the nurse and not thank them for being so nice and caring.

          The waitress and the toast? Again, it’s in her job description to get your order correct. If it’s not to your liking, politely explain to her or the manager that while she is doing an otherwise great job, this one thing is keeping the service from being spectacular. She’s new, she needs to learn to get it right. Otherwise the next person to get heavily buttered toast when they asked for light may not be so nice. It is not impolite to ask for what you paid for.

          You sound like a non confrontational person, like me. But if we don’t speak up in situations like these we don’t get the care we deserve from the nurse nor the food we paid for from the restaurant. And it doesn’t just affect us, it affects the nurse and the waitress, not to mention the loved ones who scream at us to “just stand up for yourself.”

    • SJ July 2, 2015, 5:55 pm

      That is the more polite approach. But we don’t know that he works odd hours and never has a chance to get to the library and it’s the only free hour he has to deal with his many issues. Maybe some issues came up that he didn’t realize about fines or other books checked out. And, frustration of the people behind you is uncomfortable, but when it’s your turn it’s your turn.

      • Ergala July 2, 2015, 9:18 pm

        Even when I have both my kids with me, if I discover that my transaction is going to take longer I will step back and let those behind me go first. My husband works nights and has to leave the house by 3 pm to get to work for 4 pm. We have one car. My window to get stuff done is extremely small. Most of my grocery shopping has to be done in the next state over, a 45 minute drive. I would be pretty irked if someone raced me to the line and proceeded to pull what the guy in the OP did. Even if my boys weren’t with me, I’d still be annoyed. I broke my wrist Tuesday, today I was standing in line at the local year round farmer’s market. The place was absolutely packed and there were no clear queues. I was exhausted, my kids were fighting and for once my husband was with me (YAY FOR HOLIDAYS!), I was getting cut off by people behind me when another register would open. I stood there waiting to check out for close to 30 minutes. One person even looked at my hand to elbow splint and then at my face as she cut me in the queue. I was not impressed. She knew I couldn’t move fast.

        One of the things I absolutely loathe about people today is the frame of mind that everyone’s time is more important than other people’s. Racing to the register, jumping to one that just opened when they ask whom is next…even if the person ahead of you has clearly been waiting for awhile and you just got in line. It blows my mind. I hate going out because crowds make me nervous. I try to get in and out and when I know that something is going wrong my heart begins to race. I know that behind me there is muttering and angry whispers that I am holding up the line. I try to get through it as fast as possible and not drag it out.

        • Vic July 5, 2015, 7:34 pm

          Ergala, I have to wonder if those people that you thought were cutting you off the Farmer’s market didn’t realize you were even in line. If you refuse to assert your rights because you think it’s rude, how can you expect people to know you’re not just looking at what’s on display, especially since you said there were no clear queues and they saw that you didn’t speak up for yourself when others moved in front of you? I’m not a mindreader. If I see someone just standing there while everyone is going around her, I’m probably going to just be irritated at that person for creating a bottleneck. Based on this post as well as a couple of your previous posts, I think you bring a lot of your problems on yourself.

      • Margo July 3, 2015, 4:22 am

        I think that you (general) can chose not to complete your full transaction if there are people waiting but I don’t think it is in any way rude to complete your own business. Otherwise you are effectively saying that someone with a more complex transaction should queue twice, or wait much longer, on the off-chance that the people waiting behind them have fewer or less complex transactions or that their time is worth more than yours is.

        In your examples, the people waited could have chosen to ‘wait until the line clears’ or ‘come back later’ if they don’t want to stand in line. When it is your turn, it is your turn, and absent emergencies I would say the only people who are rude are those who try to queue jump or to put pressure on the person carrying out their transaction.

        In the original library incident, I can’t blame the man for going to the desk it as it sounds as though he got there first. OP does not claim she was waiting in line, simply that she was ‘heading to the counter’ – depending on the set up in the library it may not even have been obvious that that was where she was going, even if he noticed her at all, and of course he could have no way of knowing what transactions she planned or how long they might take. The fact she had a toddler with her is irrelevant, and as Op was planning to check books out, she had the option of simply leaving if she felt that her child could not cope any longer; *not* taking books out doesn’t mean you incur any fines.

        • MM 2 July 3, 2015, 2:57 pm

          I agree. I think everyone is entitled to complete their full transaction when they get to the front of the line. Is it annoying to wait behind someone who has a lot going on? Of course, but that’s life. Because even if I stepped aside to let someone go ahead of me, how am I to know that they will have a simple transaction?

    • Hollyhock July 2, 2015, 7:07 pm

      If the patron is conducting legitimate library/guest business, he is not rude.

      If someone else has a problem with how long it takes to get to the counter, that someone should take it up with library management, not expect random strangers to make way for her at the expense of their own time and convenience.

      This isn’t really an etiquette issue, as it’s about a business transaction, not a social encounter. But I find it really narcissistic to expect that others intent on their own errands evaluate and make concessions for complete strangers’ needs.

    • Kate July 3, 2015, 1:11 am

      I hate waiting in line for ages too, but really, if you’ve done your turn waiting in line you’re entitled to complete pretty much any transaction you need. As SJ said, we don’t know this man’s situation. This might be his only chance to get to the library and sort out these issues. It may have been annoying for the OP but unless he was there for 45 minutes, searching seventeen different catalogues and paying hundreds of dollars in fines with small change, he’s entitled to his time with the librarians just as everyone else is.

    • Ashley July 3, 2015, 1:19 pm

      Okay but here’s the thing about those people banking on Saturdays. Some of us have jobs and hours that require us to be at the bank then because no other time is available to us, or our job REQUIRES us to go do a deposit before we’re closed for the weekend.

      I work at a loan office. I must maintain a drawer that is as close as possible to our target amount. If I have more, I go do a deposit. If I have less, I go pull some out. I have a two hour shift on Saturdays which mainly exists so I can try and get stuff done that I wasn’t able to during the week. Sometimes those two hours wind up being really busy and I suddenly have $3000 I need to take to the bank so it’s not sitting in my store over the weekend. So I’m sorry if it’s inconvienient to you that my Saturday transaction takes longer, but if I left that money in the store over the weekend and the place got robbed, guess who gets held responsible for/fired over that $3000 getting stolen?

    • RC July 3, 2015, 7:23 pm

      Sometimes a transaction just isn’t simple. One of the commenters said it above, but if he couldn’t check out a book because there was a fine he didn’t know about, it’s reasonable to ask what that book was. And even more reasonable to ask what else is checked out if you don’t recognize the first item, in order to prevent future fines. To play devil’s advocate, would you ask the same of a woman with three kids when there are people in line behind her, and it’s a complicated transaction? Kids or not, no one’s time is more valuable than anyone else’s.

      Same applies to banks. It is common knowledge that when you go to a bank (especially through the drive through, which is never fast) you are probably going to have to wait, especially on a Saturday when there is no lobby service. Line or not, the guy can’t make the teller go any faster, and he was probably just as frustrated at the long wait. It’s unreasonable to expect that everyone is going to have single transactions.

    • Miss-E July 3, 2015, 11:03 pm

      I don’t really know what you expect from people. If I have a lot of business with the bank…I’m not allowed to go take care of it because it might delay someone else? Sure, it’s nice to let someone with one item cut in front of you at the grocery store but on a busy day you could be doing that for hours if you don’t eventually step forward. Like Admin says, you have to expect things like lines when you are out in the world. You’re expectation can’t be that everyone else will just go home when you decide to run your errands.

  • Kelly July 2, 2015, 3:46 pm

    Why on earth would you wait until close to bedtime to take a 4 year old to the library? You couldn’t wait until you had a day off to take her? The op sounds like an entitled brat to me!

    • Ergala July 2, 2015, 9:24 pm

      Why is it necessary to call the OP names? That isn’t very mature or nice at all. I think you could have worded it without calling her a brat.

  • RC July 2, 2015, 4:47 pm

    I second all of your points Admin, well put! There’s a strong whiff of parental entitlement lingering about this post. Hope OP can take a lesson from this.

    On a sunnier note, big props to OP for encouraging reading and library attendance in her little one. An appreciation of books is a valuable thing.

    • RC July 3, 2015, 7:24 pm

      I didn’t know there was another RC!

      • RC July 5, 2015, 11:00 pm

        Haha, hello there! I was just having a moment reading one of your comments, thinking “Sounds like what I would say but man I must be getting forgetful! Don’t remember writing that at all….”
        You can have the RC moniker if you like, I only post occasionally and I’m not attached to it 🙂
        From hence forth, I crown myself “Fat Kiwi”.

        • Fat Kiwi July 5, 2015, 11:00 pm

          In hindsight, probably a weird choice…

  • KA July 2, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Admin is spot on here. The expectation that OP’s cranky child trumps anyone else’s needs is rude and entitled. Yes, running errand with kids can be challenging. Plan accordingly and don’t expect anyone else to care. It’s YOUR kid.

    • GeenaG July 2, 2015, 8:48 pm

      I’m wondering if he didn’t hurry to the line a bit faster because he was concerned about getting stuck behind a parent having a teachable moment at the library with their toddler.

    • RC July 3, 2015, 7:29 pm

      This is so on point. It’s nice when people do care but special accommodations should never be expected. For example, I was waiting in line to use the bathroom at Starbucks so I could change my (screaming) baby, and there was another girl ahead of me. She saw that I was struggling to keep the situation under control, and very kindly let us go in first (I asked her if she was sure, since she had been there first and had already waited) But I also wouldn’t have been upset if she had gone in, since she was before us, and I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking to cut in line because baby was upset.

  • BagLady July 2, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I would call a four-year-old a preschooler, not a toddler. Many four-year-olds are in full-day prekindergarten, and while they may still get cranky when they’re tired, they’re still old enough to understand “You have to be quiet for a little while longer.” Were any of the books you were checking out for her? Maybe you could have given her one to look at while she waited.

    Lines are a crapshoot. You can get into what looks like a fast-moving express line at the grocery store, and the person in front of you turns out to have a zillion coupons, or her card is declined, or she gets into a dispute with the cashier over the price of something.

    This isn’t about having a child in tow. This is about not being able to read minds. You had no way of knowing Fast Eddie was going to take a long time. He had no way of knowing you weren’t.

    He didn’t cut the line or push you out of the way. File this under “life happens.”

    • Sarah July 3, 2015, 3:06 am

      I scrolled down to say exactly that BagLady, she is no longer a toddler! I would go so far as to say that if your child needs to be treated like a toddler at the age of 4 then something has gone wrong! A 2 year old is a toddler, maybe stretch to the first half of 3 if they are slow “getting off the ground” but 4, no, just no.

  • Amy D July 2, 2015, 7:04 pm

    This story reminded me of a silly situation I had at a supermarket one time. I am a fast walker, and I have a tendency to really move fast at the store (I strongly dislike grocery shopping). I was walking down the main lane where all the cashiers are situated and I noticed an elderly gentleman next to me giving me the side eye. He literally broke into a run to get in front of me in order to beat me to where I was going (the only register lane with out a line); unfortunately for him I was merely cutting through a closed lane to get to the front where the cigarettes were sold (this was back in my smoking days). He stopped short and had to back up, I slid deftly around him with an “excuse me” and went along my merry way. I distinctively heard a not very nice word muttered in my direction as he moved back to to join the throngs of other people waiting to check out. I just shrugged it off; why on earth he had to turn that into a race when I clearly did not have anything in my hands is beyond me.

  • JJ July 2, 2015, 9:03 pm

    Yeah I’m with admin don’t see what he did wrong. Sorry but if I’m somewhere shopping and I see a really slow elderly person or even just a parent with a bunch of kids walking super slow in front of me who will take a while to get to an open cash register I am going to pick up my pace and walk by you to the line up. That isn’t mean that is called life. Some people are faster walkers then others if I am on a sidewalk or a store and a lady with a bunch of toddler is slowly toddling up to the front I will try to go around her. If someone is walking with a cellphone and sauntering slowly I will go around them. It doesn’t harm them. If they were in such a rush should have walked faster or picked the pace up or just accepted the spot you end up in line. If you are going slower and there is spots for people to go by you then that is what people do. And I hate the “I have a child with me and they are tired/cranky” excuse. So? Does that mean you don’t wait your turn and everyone is just suppose to part the seas like Moses just for you and the kid. Yup kid’s get cranky and you got to get them out of there sometimes of course, but, other people don’t have to get stuck behind you just because oh she has a kid with her let her go first. Lots of people could come up with a reason why they deserve to be there first ” I have a dog in the car/groceries melting/have to pick my kid up from school/on my lunchbreak etc”. Still have to wait your turn. If you want to be first go faster.

    And secondly the customer is within their rights to ask questions and deal with their issues a the cash register or check out desk. It’s not illegal or rude. At some point in life we all have to do it and be “that person” because something went wrong on our bill, we need to do a return or we have a question. That is life. I can sympathise with those behind them in line because we have all been there but the customer is allowed to ask questions or inquire about his fee’s etc. But I always remember when I behind that person that hey they aren’t doing anything wrong so I just have to be patient. If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s being in a line with a whiny complainer who rolls their eyes, taps their foot and mutter impatient things under their breathe because they aren’t immediately let through to the check out. I always just want to look at those people and say, “Uh you in rush?! Calm down you will get your turn or put your stuff down and don’t buy it now if you can’t wait like a grown up without the dramatics”.

    • Devin July 6, 2015, 11:31 am

      Hopefully the person in a rush because they left their dog in the car isn’t in the US, they’ll come out to find their window smashed and the cops being called (new animal welfare laws).

  • MM July 2, 2015, 9:44 pm

    OP: As a father to small kids, I have come to know exactly what I am entitled to…nothing.

    It is your job to look after you children, to make sure that their needs are met well before they should be, and that you are ready and prepared for anything and everything that might come your way. That is what being a parent is all about.

    It is so sad to see today that parents play the “child card.” IMHO, having children entitles you to absolutely nothing whatsoever, other than having to be on your toes way more to look after your child’s needs.

    • Kate July 3, 2015, 8:28 pm

      “As a father to small kids, I have come to know exactly what I am entitled to…nothing.”

      You are the kind of parent that I love to encounter in my job (teaching). What an excellent response!

    • ketchup July 4, 2015, 9:22 am

      I would phrase it differently. You’re entitled to nothing, but to the same things as other people.

  • Rebecca July 3, 2015, 1:17 am

    Perfectly acceptable to move to a line faster than someone else, as long as you aren’t shoving to get past them.

    But I can kind of see the OP’s point too. I have been burned by being polite, such as when I get to the checkout at the same time as someone else, holding one item, and I let them go ahead. And they proceed to be complicated at the checkout: trying to use expired coupons or coupons for the wrong product; sending the cashier away to get something they know will be in a locked cabinet at the other end of the store (ie cigarettes), oh, and they’ve forgotten some item too, can they just run back and get it, and oh, here comes my daughter with that other item, can we wait a second and add hers too, and can I pay half with cash and half with credit, but wait, I only have $80 so maybe scan this item and see if it still comes to under $80. Wait, there’s an app on my phone that gives 10% off, let me just find that, and I have a gift card with $20 on it, so can I take $5 from the gift card……etc etc. etc.

    And there I am standing there with my one carton of milk, cash in hand, wondering why they couldn’t have just stood back and let me go ahead instead of the other way around.

  • JO July 3, 2015, 5:26 am

    Sorry OP, I’m with administration here. As a parent I can sympathize with having a cranky kid and just wanting to get out of a place, but one should expect these sorts of little delays in life, annoying as they may be. And frankly, next time maybe you should plan on leaving before it gets to close to bedtime.

  • Mal July 3, 2015, 5:51 am

    The library I work at has a policy that you can accumulate up to $10 in fees before you can’t check out any more items so sometimes it sneaks up on them. Of course they want to know which fees have added up to the amount they owe. So the person in front of OP might have thought his transaction would be shorter than hers and thus hurried to be first in line, only to be surprised with issues he didn’t expect.

  • rachel July 3, 2015, 11:34 am

    Guy shouldn’t have sped up (if he was in a legit hurry he would’ve walked faster the whole time, not just when seeing OP), OP shouldn’t assume anyone cares that she has a kid. Both sides were equally wrong.

  • NostalgicGal July 3, 2015, 2:44 pm

    OP is most in the wrong. Guy may have speeded up, but he wanted to get out of there too. With a 4 year old in tow, I wouldn’t have cut it anywhere close to bedtime and a meltdown. Kids are not a free pass to anything…. I remember being a kid and neither my mom or I ever tried to cut anything just because I was little and cute and it might be late.

  • Marozia July 3, 2015, 4:33 pm

    We used to have one of those EVERY Saturday morning about 30 years ago! Our small bank agency which was at the back of the newsagent would open at 9am and an elderly woman would always be first in the queue holding up the only teller asking questions about her investments and other large money accounts. The agency was only open for 2 hours on the Saturdays and a lot of us needed to get money and shop (BTW, this was long before the days of the ATM and PayPass). The agency finally made a ‘Deposit & Withdrawal Only’ rule and that stopped her.
    Also, I’m surprised that OP’s library doesn’t have a DIY check-out for books. We’ve had them here in Perth for years. That would’ve cut down a lot of time and queuing up.

  • kingsrings July 3, 2015, 6:31 pm

    This reminds me of several years ago when I had to go to food pantries for awhile. People would line up and get their place in line before the pantry opened as it was first come, first serve. And this particular one was so big and popular that some of us would be in line, outside in the sun, for over an hour before the doors opened. Sadly, some in the line would allow their friends and family who arrived later to cut in the line. Some of us protested, but they refused to budge and said there was nothing wrong with it. Yeah right, they were just taking advantage of us because there was no pantry workers around to tell them no. It’s such a shame that some people will unashamedly be rude just because they can get away with it.

  • iwadasn July 4, 2015, 10:33 am

    One time, I was standing in line for the bathroom at a baseball game (where you can pretty much always expect the line for the ladies’ room to take at least 20 minutes), when a woman holding her kid rushed past the waiting line, calling over her shoulder, “I can’t wait, I have a toddler!” She shoved herself in front of the first person in line just as they were about to enter an empty stall, and made no attempt to apologize when she came out. I couldn’t help wondering why she would wait until her child was at “emergency” level to take him to the bathroom when she must have known there would be a line. Likewise, why would OP wait to get in line until right before her child’s bedtime when she’s about to have a meltdown? It seems that better planning would have helped in both these situations.

    • Ellex July 5, 2015, 10:17 am

      Eh, toddlers can go from zero to “I have to pee right now!” pretty quickly. And the notification they give you before an incident occurs is usually just a few minutes.

    • Fawful July 5, 2015, 2:51 pm

      In the bathroom case, it’s a bit different. Kids frequently don’t tell the adult they’re with that they need to go to the bathroom until it’s at the “emergency” level. It may still be rude, but the kid is the one who doesn’t know better here.

      Don’t agree with the OP’s viewpoint on the thing, but that’s not a fair comparison at all.

    • C July 6, 2015, 1:16 pm

      Eh, toddlers and bathrooms are a bit different. Unless my own bladder was about to burst I probably wouldn’t care, better her cut ahead then her kid let loose on the floor.

  • Lacey July 5, 2015, 9:01 am

    Well said, Admin!!! Best response to an entitled parent ever.

  • YersiniaP July 5, 2015, 3:48 pm

    I fell on the stairs at work on Friday and asked my mom to drive me to the hospital to have my foot checked because it really hurt.
    As I was hobbling towards the admission desk, which miraculously had no line at the time, two paramedics with a woman on a gurney came up behind me, overtook me briskly, and went up to the admission desk just as I was about to.
    It did not seem to be an emergency, the woman was not in pain, she was just not mobile, and they proceeded to discuss something that was wrong with the woman’s admission papers for several minutes.

    Was I annoyed that I had to wait?
    Sure, I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk properly anymore.
    Where they rude to go to admission before me?
    Meh, not really, I feel. I wasn’t at the desk yet, I was heading there, still about 10 meters away.
    And I cannot expect them to slow their pace to my laboured hobble if they have the same destination as I do.

    Just because someone overtakes you to get somewhere you’re also going, doesn’t automatically mean they are rudely cutting in line.

    Btw, it turned out I broke a metatarsal and have to have it operated on Tuesday. 🙁

  • Brenda July 5, 2015, 9:54 pm

    I’m seeing a lot of anger on this board directed at the OP, most of it because people seem to believe she was feeling entitled. I didn’t get that. I have seen plenty of parental entitlement, the most obvious recent one was the women who took her three children, all of whom were too young to be seeing the movie (Tomorrowland, it’s not for toddlers), then when an audience member complained because her youngest was squealing and making a lot of noise, got all huffy because her baby had survived cancer and her baby deserved to be a disturbance and annoyance, even though she took her kids to a movie designed for older kids and adults. That’s entitlement.

    We are supposed to live in a society. Living in this society is recognizing that other people have issues and, if possible, not making things more difficult for them. The man in the post could have waited a few minutes, especially if he knew he had a lot of stuff to take care of. He could have thought, “Well, I’d like to not wait, but that kid looks tired and her mother probably needs a break.”

    I’ve find it downright depressing that so many people on this board, which is supposed to support good manners, the grease of the wheels of society, getting upset over a woman having a child out in public and immediately denigrating her for not being a perfect mother. You know what, the man in the post certainly wasn’t perfect but not too many people are jumping on him. It’s apparently acceptable for a man to be out in public at all hours, being impolite and selfish, but a mother with a child doing the same? Unforgiveable!!!

    I sincerely hope I never have to deal with the level of entitlement I’ve seen today on this board.

    • iwadasn July 6, 2015, 8:42 am

      Not too many people are jumping on the man in the story because he’s not the one complaining about someone else’s perfectly acceptable behavior. If the roles were reversed, and that man wrote in to Ehell complaining about the injustice of a woman with a toddler walking a little faster than him to get in line first and HOW DARE SHE DO THAT when he had things to do and her transaction took longer than 30 seconds, people would be calling him out on his sense of entitlement too.

      • Goldie July 8, 2015, 9:06 am

        Yup, well said.

    • Kamatari July 6, 2015, 11:23 am

      People on this board are saying the OP was in the wrong because she’s angry that the man “ran” to get in front of her, then had the audacity to have issues he “knew” he had to take care of, when she has a child. In exactly what ways was the man being “impolite and selfish”? No one is jumping on the man because he didn’t do anything wrong. He’s just a person who had every right to be at the library at one child’s bedtime as the mother did. He has every right to go to the checkout counter when he is finished looking for books. OP’s the one who decided to wait until her child couldn’t stand to be awake any longer to decide to start checking out her books.

      I forgot the term for it, but this is a classic case of perceiving everything to be against you. For example, if I’m mad at one of my co-workers, I will perceive everything she does to with the explicit intent to put me behind. Except she isn’t. If she cuts in front of me, it’s because she’s busy thinking about the 18 things she needs to do NOW or she won’t be ready when her turn comes. Or if I know my supervisor dislikes me, I’m going to perceive that she calls me out more than my other coworkers. This situation is the same thing. OP knows she needs to go soon, but this big bad man saw her and made every single effort he could to make her late getting home.

      It would have been nice if he had let OP and her child go, but it isn’t mandatory. He didn’t push her out of the way. She wasn’t already in line when he got to the counter. OP nor we know if he was aware that he had fines (obviously he didn’t or else he wouldn’t have asked about the books causing the fines). How in the world does he know that she is aware of having a bunch of business with the librarian on top of having to deal with a cranky child? So in what way is he wrong ettiquettely?

      No one is berating OP for not being the perfect mother. My issue is, however, it doesn’t take a perfect mother to know when her child is about to have a meltdown. Children don’t all of a sudden become cranky around bedtime or when they are bored. They progress to the meltdown stage, which OP should intimately know the signs of seeing as how she’s been the mother of her child for 4 years. She knew very well that her child was getting tired, but continued looking for her books and/or her child’s books regardless. Then is angry at another patron when he at the same time is ready to leave.

      As for “It’s apparently acceptable for a man to be out in public at all hours”, most libraries aren’t open at all hours. A person (man or woman) without a child in toe is socially allowed to be out in public at all hours. Anyone with a child in toe at all hours of the night is definitely going to be looked at strangely because a child should be in bed asleep, not being carted around for the adult’s pleasure. If you need to be out “at all hours” with a child, then get a babysitter if you are going to be out after bedtime.

      I’m personally not saying the man is completely innocent because he’s a man, I’m saying he’s innocent because he did nothing wrong.

      • Miss-E July 6, 2015, 2:22 pm

        You’ve hit the nail on the head here. I can say, after working in a grocery store for seven years, I think overwhelmingly when people do rude things like cutting in line, it’s not because they are terrible people but because they are so caught up in their heads that they didn’t even realize someone was there.

        It used to drive me nuts how people would leave their shopping carts at the register, blocking the next customer and creating a whole bottleneck mess. I never understood it because our cart corral was just inside the front door so it wasn’t even inconvenient to bring the cart back out. One day I just started asking people (very very politely) to take their carts. In all those years I never once had someone snap at me or get mad. They always seemed almost surprised that they had left their cart because it had simply not occurred to them that it was in the way.

    • Devin July 6, 2015, 11:42 am

      I think many people are taking issue with the reason the mother thought she should go first, that she had a child with her and he did not. She also states he ‘obviously’ saw her and her child. She obviously saw him, but he may have been oblivious to her. I think this story falls under their are 3 sides to every story: your side, their side, and the truth.

    • Rob aka Mediancat July 6, 2015, 1:26 pm

      He could have waited. He was not obligated to wait; it was not rude of him not to wait; it is wrong of her to have expected him to do so.

      She gets no sympathy from me. He got there first. That applies to me, and to other people who get there ahead of me.

    • Vic July 6, 2015, 3:24 pm

      Brenda, please don’t turn this into a gender issue. It has nothing to do with it being acceptable for a man to be out in public at all hours, but not a woman. No one has even implied such a thing. If it was a man who expected special treatment because he had a cranky child with him, I feel sure he would have received the same comments. The fact is no one is entitled to special treatment because they have a child, not the OP, not me, and not anyone else. The OP implied that she deserved special consideration because of her child and that’s the part of her post that people are taking issue with.

      • Anonymouse July 24, 2015, 10:11 pm

        Thank you Vic! I too was wondering how this became a gender issue!

    • JJ July 7, 2015, 12:07 am

      First: how do you know the man knew he had things to take care of? Maybe he got up there expecting it go smooth and found out he had late fees or a book he wanted wasn’t in the system to reserve etc? I doubt he ran up and was like “muhahha I am going to hold up that mother and child right now”. I don’t see how the man was selfish or impolite. He walked to the line up and got there first. He didn’t push the kid over or yell “ahaha I am first I will beat you” at the family. He just walked faster then the mom and the kid and go there first. It’s not rude to walk fast. I pass slow walkers all the time including parents with slow walking children who are distracted didn’t realize it was my nice duty to let all of them walk ahead of me every time and be first because they have kids and are somehow more special.

      Second: It’s not owed to parents to let them go ahead because they or their kid looks tired. Lots of people are tired or busy, kids or no kids. What most of us calling out is the mothers insistent that she is a parent so she should not have been held up because she is a parent and she is busy with a tired kid. So? Who isn’t busy? Who isn’t tired sometimes or has stuff to do? Having a kid doesn’t make you special even in line ups. “getting upset over a woman having a child out in public”. No most people are more annoyed that she thought having a cranky child warrants special treatment. If she sensed the child was getting cranky, as kids do, well then you have to pack up and leave. And she did but she still has to wait her turn. Even if that means getting behind someone who might be a few minutes.

  • Dominic July 6, 2015, 8:24 am

    I’m late getting to the party here, but wanted to chime in with a small positive story. I can’t count how many times I’ve been in line at our local Aldi discount grocery store with just a few items in my hands and the person ahead of me, or sometimes even two, will let me go ahead of them and their large order. Typically there is only one cashier, so at times you can wait and wait, though they ring things up very quickly. Still, people will many times allow someone with just a few items ahead of them in line. I don’t know why it’s just there and not other grocery stores–maybe because there’s only one line? In any case, at least there are still a few instances of not just polite behavior, but outright kindness and thoughtfulness.

    Funny thing is, it would be easy to have the expectation when in line at this store that someone would always let me go first if I have two items and they have a cartful, and I have to smile at myself when I think that, while waiting in line behind the person who has just started loading their 100 items on the belt. In my head I’m screaming, “Let me go before you,” but on the outside I’m affecting a bland, patient smile and looking at the impulse purchase shelves to pass the time.

  • Library Diva July 6, 2015, 12:53 pm

    It’s always nice when a singleton allows a parent with young child to go first, when a younger person allows an older person to go first, when a healthy person allows a handicapped person to go first, or even simply when the person with the cartful of groceries allows the person with one jug of milk to go first. But it’s not required. Assuming that the guy actually noticed OP and her child, was aware that there were problems with his card, and had nowhere pressing to be himself (three BIG assumptions), I still don’t think he did anything wrong. It was a minor inconvenience for OP, not a major one. THat being said, OP — so glad you’re introducing your child to the joys of reading and of going to the library!