This topic was inspired by one of my Facebook status updates a while back.
A couple of years ago, I went to a store and I picked up an item really fast and went to check out. This lady with a buggy full of stuff turned around, saw me with the single item, and then turned back around. She did not say "You can go ahead of me, sir". I also did not ask if I could go ahead. However, that was not the point. Some folks can be rude, insensitive, and/or just inconsiderate and unaware of what is really going with other folks.
Basically, when one is at the checkout line, it tends to make better sense if you allow someone with one or two items to go ahead of you. It's polite, it's cool, and it will come back to bless you.
When I updated my status on Facebook, telling this story, I was met with a bevy of answers. All of them ranging from "that woman was rude", "Drew, you're just sensitive, people don't have time to let everyone with one item go in front of them", "You should plan better if you're in such a hurry", and "It's different with women. We have children, housework, etc., on our minds".
The latter response was especially interesting. However, a couple of other women (one that's actually a cashier at a retail chain store) and one that's a mother of four understood where I was coming from. If it's just one person behind you with ONE or TWO items and you have a buggy full of items, it won't hurt you or delay your schedule if you let them in front of you.
I even asked the cashier (and tested my theory when I went into her store a few days later) how long does it take the average item to be scanned, 30 seconds or less? She agreed. Therefore, what's half a minute out of your schedule, people?
Personally, if I see a person (notice I didn't say people) behind me with way less items than me, I let them go ahead of me. Whether I'm in a hurry or not is hardly the issue here. It's about caring about others and being considerate. That seems to have gone out of style along with cassette tapes, pay phones, and leather football helmets.
Of course you are not necessarily rude if you choose not to do this, nor are you hypersensitive if you think one should let them go ahead in line. It's just a matter of common courtesy and respect. I believe it's all in how you respond to it, though. If you say something in the nature of "sorry, I don't care if we're the only two in line, I don't have time to let them pass. They should have gotten there faster", I would say that sounds rude, and rather childish. Especially for those that have children of their own and they see this. Granted I'm not a parent, but I was raised with morals, consideration and manners. If you are too insensitive to consider letting someone in front of you at the checkout line, well you may want to take a second look at yourself and others.
Also, you should not also complain or expect others to let you in front of them when you only have one item and they have a buggy full. Granted it is the right thing for them to do. However I feel you should act the way in which you want to be treated.
My belief is it rarely (if ever) hurts to be nice to someone and do a good deed. You never know what the person on the other end is thinking, or undergoing. Your act of kindness could make their day, keep them from in turn being rude to someone else, and actually make you feel good. So why not do good folks?
Just take a look next time you're in the supermarket, Wal-Mart, Dollar General or even in a department store. See how many folks actually practice what I've been talking about. My guess is not very many will. However, you may want to take a special look at the few folks that actually do. It may actually make you feel good about yourself.