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Store Lines and Cell Phones: Did I do wrong?

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I was Christmas shopping today.  I found my items and went toward the cashiers.  There was one register open and the clerk wasn't checking anyone out.  There was a woman standing about ten feet away from the register (basically all the way across the wide lane designated for register foot traffic) talking on her cell phone. 

I stepped around the woman and approached the register, putting my items on the counter, only to hear, "Excuse me!  There's a LINE and it starts behind me!"  The woman still had her cell phone to her ear, but seemed pretty incensed that I'd "skipped" her.  Apparently, I was supposed to wait behind her until she finished her phone conversation and moved toward the register.  All of my ehell training went out of my brain and I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, which was, "I'm sure that the clerk would be happy to help you, once you've finished your phone conversation."

By this time, there were people lining up behind her and the clerk had started my transaction.  The woman called me "rude" and a few other names.   She was the next customer the clerk waited on. I ignored her as she continued to call me names, thanked the clerk and walked out of the store.

I got in my car and had that, "OMGosh, I can't BELIEVE I said that!!" moment and got really embarrassed.  So I throw myself on the mercy of the ehell court.

Was what I said rude?

Would it have been better if I'd said something else?

Would it have been better if I'd said, "OK," and moved back behind the woman until she was ready to check out?     

I think you did just fine. She was the rude one.

You were perfect. What would have been even better is if the clerk had said that to her.

So as I understand it, she was just waiting to finish her phone conversation a decent distance away from the register before she went up there?   And she had made no attempt to move towards the register?  In that case I think it was your turn to be checked out as you had no way of knowing that she was in line and even if she was, she planned on finishing the conversation first.  That said, unless the store had a sign that says people won't be helped unless they hang up their cells, it really wasn't your place to impose that rule on everyone.

Actually I think your e-hell training did NOT fly out of your brain. You didn't yell, get snarky or give her any dirty looks?

You handled the situation perfectly.

The same thing happened to me only I was in my vehicle (longish story). I was called an @$$hole.

You done did good, Weeble!


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