Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

How To Cut In Line and Not Get Caught 256

ewenc writes "A psychology study of hundreds of people waiting for front-row access to U2 concerts points to the best ways to cut in line and not get caught. 'Super-fans' are most irked by queue-jumpers. People were equally peeved whether someone cut in front or behind, and cutters who jumped beside a friend were less likely to attract scorn."


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How To Cut In Line and Not Get Caught

Comments Filter:
  • by !coward ( 168942 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:20PM (#25679133)

    Oh great!

    Now science is coming to the aid of line-cutters everywhere.. Though I'm usually not the type of person willing to wait in line for hours (regardless of the reason), seeing someone cutting into a line (however short it may be) really pisses me off.

    It's one of those tell-tale things about a person's character. It implies, at the least, that the line-cutter lacks civility, or simply couldn't care less for "social norms". At the most, it's a sign of someone who simply thinks the "rules" do not apply to them, and everything that can get them ahead is fair game. In the latter case, it's also often accompanied with smugness: "stupid idiots waiting in line."

    Sure, cutting a line is by no means a serious offense. And in most cases these lines are purely informal, so one could make the argument that cutting the line is a simple display of expedience, and that no rules have been broken.. But seeing as though many of society's rules are entirely unwritten (and often unspoken), such attitude is disruptive to say the least. Not trying to spread FUD here, but it's the kind of thing that when widespread, brings nothing but chaos into even the most simple of things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mauthbaux ( 652274 )

      Agreed. It irks me to no end when people do this while driving.

      In fact, I deal with it daily on my commute home. There's a section of road where the two lanes merge into one, with the right lane ending. I cannot count the number of times that I've seen someone rushing along in the right lane trying to get as far ahead as they can before they're *forced* to merge (by which I mean they try and force the people in the left lane to let them in).

      There are *plenty* of signs warning tha

      • I make a point of not letting them cut in front of me. I'm legally entitled to the area of space my vehicle ocupies (plus a buffer zone in front and behind sufficiently large to prevent fender benders no less). Yet these cheats are *demanding* (with screams and threatening gestures at times) that I *sacrifice my rights* for their momentary convenience.

        Traffic would flow faster for everyone, including yourself, if you stopped doing that.

        Optimal lane merging []
        Curing lane-merge traffic jams [] and FAQ []

      • by bitrex ( 859228 )

        If we've drifted off into the territory of anti-social annoyances:

        Remember that parking directly in front of the entrance to a gas station convenience store in what is normally a fire lane is OK so long as you're driving an Escalade, just running in real quick, too drunk to find a proper parking spot, or need to get scratch tickets. Also, if you buy scratch tickets make certain you scratch all 20 of them right at the counter like your own private casino, regardless of how many customers may be waiting behi

  • by TomRC ( 231027 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:21PM (#25679159)

    Suppose you're standing in line, and suddenly a whole line of people just slides into place right next to your line - at least as long as your line, in parallel, and apparently planning to enter into the venue in parallel.

    Do you object? Do you assume that a second line has been "officially" been opened and you just missed out?

    What if the new line of people has a lot more people than your line, and they start looking over at your line and saying "Hey - get to the back of the line! No cutting!" Does a fight break out - even if your line is obviously going to lose?

    • You can see this every day on the 101 in CA. On ramps that start as two lanes merge into one before entering the highway, and again after. Cars are already bumper to bumper in line, but there is just enough room for another line to form on the outside.
      What happens is a huge cluster f@*k, and I usually see two to five accidents a week in my 14 mile commute.
    • Didn't we just do that on Nov 4th?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cytotoxic ( 245301 )

      Suppose you're standing in line, and suddenly a whole line of people just slides into place right next to your line -

      I actually saw this happen at a sports fair. There was a really long line for an autograph tent that went about 30 yards away, ran into a fence and folded back on itself all the way to the front. At some point a couple of guys tried to jump the line and in the confusion that ensued the whole end half of the line just turned and made a new line. Those of us who waited for an hour to get near the front were fairly pissed. No fight though.

      As to why in the world I was in line for an autograph - it wasn't my

    • Nip it in the bud. Tell him (or her) the line begins behind you. If the guy standing there is pretending not to hear you, you put your hand on his chest and tell him one more time that the line is behind you. Then you shove him backwards with all your might. If you're good, you can get him to the back of the line in one push. If he fights back, you usually can count on your fellow liners to help you out.

      If you're a guy and the person cutting the line is a hot girl, you're probably not going to win. Take adv

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:22PM (#25679163)
    For full study results, see this month's Journal of American Douchebag Studies.
  • by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:27PM (#25679265)

    is to pretend you're doing a study on line cutting, and interview someone near the front just as they start letting people in. Then release an actual study to prevent reprisals. Then profit?

    • Re:The best way (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:43PM (#25679643)

      Actually, you start your interviewing at the back of the line, moving forward as you go. Everyone knows you are just interviewing. Time it so that you are at the front when the gates open and just go in, continuing the current interview.

  • by Mishra100 ( 841814 )

    Generally, I have more important things to care about than if I have to wait an extra minute and a half because 3 people just got in front of me.

    If I'm in line, then I just expect to wait and wait it out. -5 or +5 minutes in a 60 minute wait doesn't make a difference to me... I would rather stand there and zone out into Willy Wonka land and be happy.

    Now in a situation where I'm not expecting to wait, it is much more frustrating. For example if I step up to order a hamburger, and the cashier decides to step

    • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @04:01PM (#25679955)

      Generally, I have more important things to care about than if I have to wait an extra minute and a half because 3 people just got in front of me.


      How do you feel if its already been an hour, the line up is half way around the block, and people at the back will take an hour just to reach the position you are at now; and there is probably 50+ people and another half our so to wait in front of you.

      And then over that period, half a dozen groups of 5+ show up and join their various friends in front of you (we're talking couples meeting other couples, or groups of friends meeting other groups of friends -- not a boyfriend joining his wife, or the driver joining his group after parking here. This effectively adds another 30 people in front of you, pushing you back another 30 minutes, while speeding them up about an hour and a half.

      It gets ridiculous, and infuriating.

      I remember when the Wii and PS3 were selling out at launch and people were lining up. Some stores instituted one of the best trends I've ever seen to defeat this, and some lines even SELF ORGANIZED into doing this; they had someone give out numbers to the people as they arrived. One person got one number. (And they were limiting it to one unit per customer.) So if a group sends someone over to line up a 1am, and then his 5 friends showed up at 5 minutes to opening, they couldn't effectively cut in and score a Wii or PS3 while guys that had been there for hours lost out entirely.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by EvanED ( 569694 )

        This effectively adds another 30 people in front of you, pushing you back another 30 minutes, while speeding them up about an hour and a half.

        It gets worse when people start to give birth.

        • It gets worse when people start to give birth.

          Oh well. At least you were there for the conception.

    • Generally, I have more important things to care about than if I have to wait an extra minute and a half because 3 people just got in front of me.

      and when those three people in front of you buy the last six tickets to the concert you were lining up for (or what ever item of scarcity you were waiting in line for), how do you feel about it then?

  • by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <info&devinmoore,com> on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:34PM (#25679437) Homepage Journal

    Everyone knows there are a few ways to cut a line that work every time:
    1) be in a wheelchair,
    2) be carrying a screaming baby,
    3) have "credentials" of some kind.

    So if you have a press pass and a screaming baby and you're in a wheelchair, in theory you should be able to cut the restroom line in the last game of the world series, Boston at NYY, wearing a Boston hat, without getting a second look.

    • by beacher ( 82033 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:50PM (#25679791) Homepage

      When I was a kid at Six Flags I used to yell MOM! at the top of my lungs until I got towards the front of the line. Worked like a champ. I've changed it to calling out my kids names and asking if someone has seen my 8 year old, about yea high, etc etc... Sometimes I get called on it but it's usually worth the risk.

    • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @04:01PM (#25679951) Homepage Journal
      You forgot one of the most obvious:

      4) Be a boobie-having female. Cut in front of a single guy, possibly after making eye contact and smiling slightly.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by turdbeast ( 1390009 )
      i apologize for being a stickler, but i can't help but point out that Boston and the Yankees are both American League teams. it hurt my eyes when it was suggested that they could possibly play each other in the world series, and i am unable to let something like that go without saying something.
      • by BobNET ( 119675 )

        i apologize for being a stickler, but i can't help but point out that Boston and the Yankees are both American League teams.

        Which would make a World Series between the two of them that much more amazing...

    • ....except Boston will never play the Yankees in a World Series.
    • That reminds me.. I didn't see enough footage to tell for sure, but on Election Day, there was footage of Sarah Palin going to vote. It sure *seemed* like she cut in front of a whole bunch of people in line. While I realize it's "expected" in that kind of scenario, I think it would have been hilarious for someone to have yelled out something like "just for cutting ahead of me, I'm not voting for you."

      (But I guess not many voted for them anyway.. ba dum psh!)

  • Umm.. No shit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:34PM (#25679441)

    I think i learned this in high school when waiting to buy stuff at lunch. See a friend? Go say hi, start talking, act like you're not going to buy anything, and then when your friend gets to the front, look kind of surprised and "decide" to order something. Or instead, say "thanks for saving my spot", which people somehow value as a legitimate line technique. At a concert, try "hey man, wow, it took me forever to find parking!".

    Now give me my god damn nobel prize.

    What the hell is it with "researchers" doing projects that i figured out in high school?

    • Re:Umm.. No shit? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:45PM (#25679683) Homepage Journal

      Becasue your one little piece of life is nothing more then an anecdote?

      Everybody knew things fell to the ground before Newton, did he waste his time?

      Sorry about anon, apparently having a few actual interesting stories(to me) happen at once means your going to hit the limit pretty damn quick.

      • Becasue your one little piece of life is nothing more then an anecdote?

        You realize that their ENTIRE study consisted of a U2 fan going to ONE U2 concert and ASKING the people in line how they felt about cutting and how big of fans they were?

        That's not a study. That's a poll of statistically insignificant sample size. At least the guy who went to high school collected data over 4 years.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          Yes I was, and it's on data point..not even a strong one.

          I doubt he collected data. He is probably remembering, and memory or really, really fallible.
          not just fallible, but easy to manipulate as well.

          My point is that his study was poor, at best. Certainly not as good as this poll...assuming the immediatly recorded the responses.

    • You must have gone to a school full of pussies. You'd have been bashed at the school I went to for such a violation. From then on, you'd carry around the badge of being a wanker. Sure, you might think that being called a wanker once or twice wouldn't hurt. But that badge would be with you for the rest of your time at high school.

      Don't fuck with the playground rules.

    • by seriv ( 698799 )
      Because it was conducted by researchers in a field where the name is prefixed by "social." Basically, if the name of something starts with social, then it will be bullshit, overinflated bunch of hype over something obvious. Look at social networking. Social Science/Psychology is no different, if not worse. Whenever I see anything from that general area of study, I am always amazed that so many people can make a living doing such basic work so badly.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:47PM (#25679741) Homepage

    Murder everyone else in line.

    You may get caught for the murders, but no one will ever know you cut in line.

    • by MorderVonAllem ( 931645 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @04:18PM (#25680257)
      unless you use a knife
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by SydShamino ( 547793 )

      You may get caught for the murders, but no one will ever know you cut in line.

      Depends. Do you murder with a knife?

      • Depends. Do you murder with a knife?

        Naw, man. For one if the line's of any length worth cutting it's going to be quite tiring and time consuming and the whole point of the exercise is laziness and impatience. For two unless you're already Chuck Norris or Shaq a knife isn't exactly an overwhelming weapon, and if I get smacked down by some big line-dweller I'm going to jail for the stabbings, and they'll know I tried to cut in line. That's just humiliating.

        No. I find a rocket launcher or an M60 works very

    • much more effective your bullets would be - if you used a gun. You could take out up to 5 people with a single bullet.

      On the other hand you might be able to take out the entire line with only a couple of explosive thingies.

      Slamming into the line with a combine harvester would also prove rather effective I presume.

    • Of course they will know! Why would anyone murder all people behind him? And why would all the others -who can see this, because they are behind- not run away? If you are found in front of a line of corpses, it's obvious that you sneaked on them one by one from behind. On the other hand you will get 2x scrabble value for "cutting".
  • by AmeerCB ( 1222468 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:52PM (#25679821)
    Someone summarized exactly how I feel about this study in the comments section of the article:

    Someone really has too much money. Can I get a grant to do some research on fart smells?

  • by Deorus ( 811828 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @03:59PM (#25679909)

    When I was at school there was an implicit code among students in which you could let all your friends get in the line AS LONG AS IT WAS IN FRONT OF YOU. Teachers couldn't understand how every student was fine with that, but since everyone accepted it and everyone benefited from it from time to time nobody ever complained.

    • by WK2 ( 1072560 )

      I was just thinking about that the other day. It seemed so illogical that I thought that maybe it was a false memory, just idea that I had that never actually happened. I remember the "solution" too. Cut in front of your friend, and then let your friend immediately cut in front of you.

  • Learning to wait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by petehead ( 1041740 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @04:15PM (#25680223)
    I was at Disneyland a couple of weeks ago and a woman was pushing through people in the Pirates line with her ~4 year old son. We let her go by because it looked like they were rejoining someone up front. Then we heard the woman say to a group in front of us, "Sorry, he doesn't know how to wait". Well, how the hell is he going to learn?
    • Re:Learning to wait (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @05:39PM (#25681537)

      Damn, that's sad. Any bets that kid is going to grow up into a real mess?

      I have my own Pirates line story, oddly enough - it was a several hour wait in the hot summer sun. I was a youngster with my family, and a young couple was slowly cutting their way past everyone in line. My dad was the only one who didn't let them pass. After a few minutes, they tried to slip past us *again*. This time, my dad verbally unloaded both barrels on them, and they backed down for good.

      I was pretty impressed with my Dad for standing up for what he thought was the right thing, and not caring if it made a bit of a scene. A few people came up to him later and thanked him (while some others shied well away from him). Honestly, I'll bet most of the people who let them slip by wished they were able to do what my dad did - many likely figured like you did that they were meeting someone.

  • by TomRC ( 231027 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @04:19PM (#25680279)

    The article references "line Nazis" who mark everyone's hand with their position in line.

    Obviously, you write a "1" on your hand, walk to the front of the line, then walk back along the line counting people. 30 peole back, you write "31" on someone's hand, hand them a marker and tell them to work their way backwards while you work your way forwards. You get to the front of the line, write "2" on the first guy's hand, nod with satisfaction at a job well done, and turn to face front.

    If anyone objects, you just show them your hand...

    • I think the guy at the front who has been there for 48 hours is probably going to figure out your dastardly scheme and react in an unpleasant way. It would probably be smarter to shoot for a higher number where the people are more passive.
  • by chord.wav ( 599850 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @04:44PM (#25680657) Journal

    Cuting in line a problem? Ha! In South America we don't have such problem, as there aren't any lines. We replace a long period of diciplined standing time with a short period of mayhem until you get through the gate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 07, 2008 @05:25PM (#25681313)

    Hey somebody cut!

  • Including most enlighteningly: "How to pay for concert tickets with grant money and not get caught."

  • Ten years or so ago I bought an advance-purchase ticket to attend the London Boat Show. I arrived early. Together with many other overly-keen boat geeks, I was marshalled by an official into an ever-growing queue of advance-purchase ticket holders awaiting the opening of the gates. The queue was kept 30 yards off to one side to allow access to the ticket booths for those buying their tickets on the day. The many gates duly opened but our queue was kept in line and stationary by the uniformed official.

  • I can think of only one award prestigious [] enough for this research.

  • think tactically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fuji Kitakyusho ( 847520 ) on Friday November 07, 2008 @06:25PM (#25682357)
    I have always found that the best way is to carry two cups of coffee, looking for someone near the front of the line who looks like they could use a cup (helps if it is cold out), offer them the second cup, strike up a brief conversation and slide through.
  • I remember reading that if you make vocal contact, and add a reason "..because XYZ" - people are more than likely to let you proceed.

    If you just arrive and slot in without saying a word, you've created a hostile situation - it's easy to be irritated at a stranger.

    However, if you approach, make contact:
    "Hi - would you mind if I drop in, because I've got a taxi waiting / I just had to fill in this form / etc" - even if they're not happy about it, most people can't bring themselves to be bluntly rude to someon

  • if they could have convinced all the students at Newcomb Hall Pavillion XI not to "save seats" by placing their bookbags at tables. This resulted in long duration "occupancy" times of seats there, with a portion of the "occupancy" comprising a time where the seat was "occupied" by... a bookbag! I've never actually modeled it, but it seems like when the dining area was particularly crowded, it would suddenly "flash over" and you end up with poor students who refuse to engage in this unethical practic

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @01:11AM (#25685491) Homepage Journal

    Cutting in line is easier than most people think. As long as you act normal and confident, virtually no one in our docile society will want to start an almost assuredly unpleasant confrontation.

    First, don't get the impression that I'm someone who normally cuts in line. I'm the kind of person who, unless instructed otherwise, would probably wait patiently in an emergency room holding my own freshly-severed leg until called upon by a nurse or doctor. Now with that pleasant qualification out of the way...

    The only time in my life I've ever intentionally cut in line was when I went with a group of four people to a night club. It was the only time I've ever been to a night club, in fact, and it must have been a pretty popular one because there were people lined up for about two blocks waiting to get in. But the guy who brought us there took one look at the line and said, "follow me." I knew what he was about to do, but I didn't feel it was right and was skeptical we'd get away with it anyhow. With all the people and the bouncers and probably even video cameras, we'd not simply be able to cut in line and not have anyone notice.

    But cut we did. And we didn't just skip half the line or 3/4 of it, we went all the way to the front. I was waiting for one of the bouncers to say, "hey, you guys weren't here a second ago," but they never said anything. Waved their metal detectors around, stamped us all on the hand and let us in. After we were apparently in, I started wondering how the @#$% we just pulled that off. I can only imagine that it's because we didn't draw attention to ourselves and we didn't look suspicious whilst executing the cut. Perhaps because we acted like we were supposed to be cutting in line, everyone else assumed that we were entitled to. Like VIPs or something. Who knows.

    By the time we were ready to leave, the line had moved forward enough that we would have been about 10 feet from the entrance had we stayed in line.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant