Jumping ahead in lines


“Why don’t Germans respect queuing or lining up?“

John Otto Magee

Another fun question!

I have no idea. I have never analyzed it. It’s not terribly relevant for German-American cross-Atlantic collaboration. But it is something I have experienced many, many times over my twenty-five years as an American in Germany.

A few times I called the Germans on it: “Hey, why is your time tighter than mine? Is there some reason why I should wait longer than you?”

I did this a few weeks back while in line for information at the train station here in Bonn. A huge storm had rolled through the Rheinland and the Ruhr Area. Trees were down all over the place. Trains were delayed. The woman I had called out for jumping the line looked sheepish then went to the back of the line.

Can any of our German friends out there on CI help us Americans with this? Why do Germans jump lines? And why do other Germans not call them out on it? Could one reason be because they reserve the right to jump lines themselves?

Help us out here, please.