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April 12th, 2007

Line Berth

A couple of days ago I stopped in my local coffeeshop on the way to work. When I opened the door I was stunned at the line – it was nearly out the door! Clearly there was a run on beans.

That’s what I thought, at least, until I got a headcount: only three people in front of me. How then could the line seem so long? I stepped off the line a little and found that the head of the line was giving an obscenely large line berth.

Now, at an ATM a large line berth is fine; after all, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re an identity thief. But for coffee? This guy was easily giving 15 feet of room – way, way too much. If he was standing by himself, one wouldn’t think he was in line.

But there he was, leading the line with a big berth. When his time to order arrived, everyone moved forward – but not very much. Rest assured that when I got to the front of the line, I closed that silly space and stood immediately behind the person ordering. Then I took his wallet.

(Not really.)

Be careful out there with line berths, folks.

Posted in Everyday Life

Terry M. June 20, 2007, 12:24 am

You should have cut in front of him! This reminds me of what happened to me in Israel on a recent trip there. I was standing an American distance (i.e. ~18 inches) behind the person who was at the window. Then out a nowhere a woman comes and and cut in front of me! Since I was standing so far away (by Israeli standards) she assumed I wasn’t in line at all. This is common in probably every country I’ve been to. People will be standing behind you and it is normal for them to be actually touching you while in line, which can be pretty unnerving at first.

Somewhere I read that within the USA, the sense of personal space increases as one goes further west. I wonder if that is true?

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