You have been waiting in line for ten minutes. Someone cuts the line in front of you.

Vous faites la queue depuis dix minutes. Quelqu'un vous passe devant.

"Excuse me, but I believe I was here first."

I act annoyed

I confront them and ask them to stand at the back of the line.

I let him be. I cut in line myself all the time.

I say, "excuse me, I believe you just cut the line. The end of the line is...."

I tap them on the shoulder and kindly explain that I have been patiently waiting and they should take a spot at the end of the line.

I tell them that there is a line and he/she should get in the back.

I will become upset and ask him to step out.

I would call them out on it, and make sure they go to the back.

I would kindly tell them that the line ends further back and that I have been waiting for a long time already.

I would not worry about it. There are more important things in life.

I would politely say, "Excuse me, I believe the end of the line is back there. It's really long, I frustrating."

I would remind them that there are people who have been waiting before them and he should be respectful of the line.

I would say "Sorry buddy, back of the line."

I would say excuse me, the end of the line is way back there, which is where you should be.

I would sternly ask the person to step to the back of the line. This of course depends if they're with someone that's already in line, in which case I would probably not say anything.

I'd call that out.

I'd inform the person that I had been waiting and that there is a line.

If it's not a super long line, I don't let it bother me. I'm not in a rush, maybe they are.

Tell him that there is a line and to go make it.

tell them that need to get to the back of the line.

-Excusez-moi Mr mais j'étais devant vous donc ?

Ca m'énerve, je ne dis rien mais me retourne vers les autres clients.

j'essaierais de me souvenir que je ne suis pas pressée et que cette personne l'est peut-être.

Je le dirais qu'il y a une queue.

je le regarde avec pitié

Je le regarde en lui faisant comprendre que cela ne me plait pas, dis à la personne à côté de moi qu'il y a vraiment des gens sans-gêne

Je lui demande de faire la queue.

je lui demande s'il est pressé au point de me doubler, pour savoir si je le laisse passer devant moi, ou non

Je lui dis que j'étais avant lui.

je lui explique qu'il doit respecter la queue

Je lui fais les gros yeux en espérant qu'il fera marche arrière

Je lui fais remarquer de faire la queue comme tout le monde.

Je lui ferais comprendre qu'il n'a pas à faire cela.

Je montre à cette personne que la queue a une fin.

Je ne dis rien mais pense beaucoup de mal de cette personne dans ma tête.

Je proteste et réclame ma place! lui montre la queue c'est par où!

je suis fâché

Pardon Mr, vous êtes pressé? si ce n'est pas le cas, pourriez-vous faire la queue comme nous?

Selon la situation, et mon humeur je pourrai la laisser faire ou bien l'envoyer à sa place.

Si je suis à l’hôpital et si la personne est sur le point de mourir je tolère. Sinon je lui fais remarquer qu'elle se comporte comme un singe.


I found interesting the politeness of some of the French answers, in contrast to some other American ones. Is it because the language imposes us more constraints when talking to strangers? Remember that we don't have the difference between vous and tu in the first place.

Additionally, I found a staggering amount of "do nothing" type of answers on the French side. Why is it? Why would you look at him/her with pity, or glaring at the person? (okay, only two, but still!). Is it still related to the language?

The responses from both sides are very similar. On both sides, the majority would tell the person to get to the back of the line (though the American majority is much larger than the French one). However, as Adrian noted, the Americans used much harsher statements than the French. I also found it interesting that there were more "do nothing" type answers on the French side, though most of them were qualified by glaring at the person. I think this may have to do with the culture itself. As noted in the French motto, "fraternity" is very important. Maybe that's why they are more inclined to let it slide than the Americans. Any thoughts?

To answer Adrian's question, I don't think that it has much to do with the language. One can still be very harsh, even while using the polite vous form (at least I can say that from the German perspective).

This situation relates to the earlier topic of manners. Although the responses are overall similar, I agree with Sven in that the French seem either more polite or less vocal about it. Many of the American responses included a vocal response (often strong), but a decent amount (compared to the French responses) said that they did not mind. I think both these responses are demonstrate a kind of relaxing of manners on the American side as opposed to the French. As discussed earlier, perhaps this is because the French value respect more?

I agree with Amanda that this has to do with manners. I also think that the passive vs. confrontational responses have to do with how we were brought up to deal with these types of situations.

This is so funny to me because line-making and waiting in line is definitely very different in the two countries (although I'm sure the even more orderly Japanese would find both countries' techniques appalling). It's true a lot of this comes back to the topic of manners but it's also personal space.

I'm very used to it now, but when I first came to France I felt like people standing behind me in line were so close they were breathing down my neck (of course that's assuming people were waiting in a linear fashion at all).

I think Americans can be very outraged when they feel cheated out of something they deserve, and cutting in line is an example of that. Everyone hates waiting but accepts that it's necessary to a certain extent so when someone who hates waiting jumps the line instead of going to the back, it's a riot

Une des raisons pour lesquelles il y a beaucoup de "do nothing" du côté des français est sans doute que les français n'aiment pas trop se faire remarquer en public. Faire des commentaires en public, même pour des raisons valables (une personne qui vous passe devant dans la file d'attente) est relativement mal vu en France. Les personnes qui font les remarques sont rapidement cataloguées comme des râleurs, des personnes qui perdent rapidement leur sang froid. C'est pourquoi les gens préfèrent ne rien dire.

That's interesting! Can we then conclude that the French social standards are stricter than the American ones, or just different?

Additionally, this leads to yet another question: how common is it to talk behind someone's back in France? I usually think that, well, people do that, but --for example-- they do that even more often in smaller towns. Is it the same in France?

Emilie, that's interesting. In France, what kind of situation would bother someone to the point that they couldn't just stand by and "do nothing?"

I find Emilie's comment very interesting. I find that in the U.S. you are almost applauded for telling someone to go to the end of the line, which obviously seems to be pretty much the opposite to France. Why do you guys think that is?

@Emilie: I find your comment very interesting! Why is it that this attitude is prevalent in social situations in France?

@ Emilie: Thanks, that's a very interesting insight. I'm not sure if there's a similar attitude in America- I know some people prefer to avoid confrontation, but I think speaking up for yourself and voicing your opinion (in public) if something is bothering you is accepted. Although I'm not sure if there is a uniform reaction to this. It might depend on how one voices one's complaints, and against what. 


Je suis d'accord avec Emilie quand elle dit que la peur de se faire remarquer induit un comportement passif chez les Français. Mais les phrases du côté français traduisaient quand même un certain positionnement et une certaine reaction vis à vis de la situation.

@ Emilie et Henrique: Thanks for the insight! I will keep that in mind next time I'm in France. I think we're a bit less worried about how we appear in public. At the same time, it really depends on the individual. Some people care little about other's opinions while other people are easily embarrassed and care deeply. 

I loved the comment : Elle se comporte comme un signe. How funny! Is that a common French saying?

I want to circle back to Adiran's question?  Is it common to talk behind someone's back in France?  Unfortunately, I think it is common for people in America to be a bit bitter even if they don't confront a person that cuts in line/ does something that is considered "unfair".  

I think this relates back to the idea of a "well-behaved child," since we concluded in class that the French place importance on the public behavior of people/children. I can see how it's just as bad for someone to call another person out for cutting the line as it is to cut in line, since the first person is "making a scene" or making a bigger deal out of something than needs to be made. 

@Henrique: I think the majority of people on both the American and French sides would say something to the person, but there were more "do nothing" responses on the French side. But I agree with you, there was still an air of disapproval even if people didn't directly talk to the person. I thought it was interesting that the American answers were either to ask them to step to the back of the line or to let it pass because it did not bother them - there was only one "act annoyed" but don't say anything response. Why is there these kind of extremes on the American side?

I'm also curious. We've seen in the student cheating situation that sometimes it is expected that the offender will eventually receive punishment for what it has been done. In a classroom, which is the smallest simulation of a society, we can see that snitches are not tolerated. Is it the same in the big scheme of things (I.e., In real life)? How is that mentality effective in creating law-abiding, socially-conscious citizens?