Are you in the line?

April 26, 2015

It has become quite a norm to cut others in line and appear oblivious to what you are doing to the others standing in queue

Are you in the line?

Why is standing in line for your turn not a standard practice in our country? If this can be ‘achieved’ in other parts of the world, why not in Pakistan?

It has become quite a ‘norm’ here to cut others and appear oblivious to what you just did, as if this is how it should be, rather than the other way around.

We had quite an unpleasant experience a few weeks ago at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore. The terminal was as disorganised as it could get -- starting from the kiosk where you book a porter all the way to the airline check-in counter.

Initially, there were no porters to be seen. So we went around, looking for trolleys. Once we started putting our luggage on the trolley, out of nowhere, a porter came.

While standing in line to get our luggage scanned through the security, another passenger cut a few people standing ahead of us from the side and went forward. I was taken aback! No one said anything.

While I was contemplating on what was going on, another porter from the other side cut right ahead of the passenger in front of me. I did not want to create a scene but was determined not to let anyone else cut the line ahead of me.

Next on our agenda was to get the plastic wrap done on one of our pieces of luggage. Unfortunately, same no-line concept prevailed there, too. There was more to come. Standing in line at the check-in counter, I realised there was a line for each of the three counters. We stood in the middle line, only to realise there was a group of five people on the left side of our line; between line 1 and line 2. At first, we thought the group leader was checking in and the other four people were just standing there next to him. This was indeed our mistake. These five people had cut in line and bravely gone ahead of the others who were waiting patiently. I wondered why the agents at the counter let such disorganisation happen. Why people who were standing in line let others cut? Why no one was complaining about this behaviour?

I felt ashamed and angry to see this. I clearly remember a fellow passenger, a young man, with his nose up in the air, cut in line at the check-in counter at Lahore airport. It seemed he did not need to follow the rules, to stand in line and wait for his turn, like everyone else. However, at Dubai Airport and at San Francisco Airport, the same fellow would dare not break the rules. I wondered why he could not follow the basic rule in his own country.

What kind of impression do we want others to have of us? Mind you, this was the International terminal. Is it ok for foreigners to see that the Pakistanis do not respect their own country? Do we want them to see that Pakistanis are morally depraved?

If everyone stood in line and waited for their turn, things would go much smoother and faster. There is absolutely no need to cut in line, push and shove each other, to move ahead. Standing in line is a simple task that can be achieved in Pakistan, too. Next time, please take a stand, and stay in line for your turn, and don’t let others break the line.

Are you in the line?