Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Happily Remarried Gay Man Wants to Contact Ex Wife

DEAR ABBY: I am writing to protest something that has made shopping increasingly frustrating. I'm referring to rude people who cut in ahead of customers who have been standing in line when the clerk calls out, "Next, please."

I place the responsibility solely on store management to ensure that lines move smoothly and fairly. Stores that have such arrangements are more likely to get my business. Management must empower clerks to insist on fairness in this regard. I have seen too many weak salespeople accept whoever rushes forward first.

I'm sure that many other readers have experienced the same frustration I have. If you print this, I promise I will copy it and send it to the store management where I've had these experiences. Abby, this would be a great service to shoppers and would make shopping much more pleasant for everyone. -- AVERAGE SHOPPER, OAKLAND, CALIF.

DEAR AVERAGE SHOPPER: Unfortunately, most cashiers are usually so preoccupied with ringing up or scanning and bagging the purchases that they can't concern themselves with the occasional line-jumper. Therefore, it's up to you to assert yourself by saying firmly, "Excuse me, but I was next in line" when someone steps in front of you.