If You Do This At Cafés, You’re A Monster


As your typical yuppie #millennial college student, I spend a lot of time drinking coffee and buying said coffee at various cafes.

I’ve noticed this trend with people at cafes. It almost always happens when you’re in a hurry, and want to get your food and/or drink and GTFO.

So, most cafes I’ve been to have one line. There is one line where people get in line, stand in line, and wait for their turn to be assisted. This is literally one of the most banal, basic, and most commonly understood systems in the world. No excuses here, we all understand this system, right??

I was trying to grab a coffee and donut at a coffee shop in Ohio State’s architecture building, when two older men got in line behind me. Frustratingly (for everyone), the line was insanely long, but that’s the way our good green earth works sometimes. The two men began chatting about how they had Very Important Work to do, and hated waiting in line. No shit, we all do.

Then suddenly, totally without warning, one of the dudes tapped me on the shoulder:

“Excuse me, is this the line for food or coffee? Because we only want coffee,” this aging man in a grey suit asked me.

“There’s only one line,” I responded with a friendly (maybe) laugh.

The man turned around and began talking loudly with his equally obnoxious companion, totally ignoring what I had said:

“No, all these people are in line for food,” the fuck said while pointing at the food case. “We only want coffee. We just go to the coffee line.”

Apparently, the “coffee line” is just cutting the entire line before the food case, and placing themselves ahead of like a dozen people — most of whom were not, as I told the men, waiting for food. They were waiting for THE LINE to move.

At the time I sort of dismissed this incident as just two overly entitled assistant professors who had a bad meeting of the pretentious academic subcommittee. But oh, how wrong I was.

Just yesterday, I was at a Bruegger’s and, once more, placed myself at the back of a lengthy line. This line wraps past the food counter, where someone can order food or pass, and then loops to the cash register where you then check out. So, it might be acceptable to skip ahead of someone who ordered food and is waiting for it once you get to that point, but it is not acceptable to just start your own fucking line on the other side of the cafe.

After standing in line for about 90 seconds two girls in (matching?) summer dresses walk in.

“Are we getting in the food line or the coffee line?? Do you want food??” One basic asked the other.

After discussing this issue for some time, the two girls elect to get in the “coffee line” which is just them walking straight up to the counter.

And here’s the thing: the poor cashier was already fucking busy. He was literally bouncing around between filling iced coffees, getting sodas, and running the cash register. So imagine the man’s internal pain as he was forced to deal with these two girls who just walk up to the counter, as well as the people who have been waiting in an admittedly really long line prolly for a really long time. It’s nuts.

And here’s the thing: People followed their lead!

As I — and half a dozen other good people — stand in the ACTUAL line, a second line forms in front of the cash register of people who “just want coffee” or maybe “just a muffin” too. Or maybe “just a bagel” too — oh, also can you heat that up please? But we don’t have to stand in the actual line, cuz we’re only getting a coffee, muffin, and a bagel that we want heated up.

STOP. Stop it. Stop inconveniencing literally everyone else just to save yourself three minutes.

This is just self-excused selfish bullshit. Unless you are actually patronizing a location that has labeled separate lines for separate products — which some large scale cafes and eateries do — just stand in the line. Just do it. Anything else is just you telling the world, “My time is more important than yours.” You are literally stealing time from people who are complying with societies’ expectations that leave us ALL better off.

This is textbook Prisoner’s Dilemma. We are all better when we comply, but as more and more people defect, the expected outcome gets worse and worse.

Just stand in the fucking line. Otherwise you’re a monster. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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