The other day I stopped an ATM to withdraw some cash. I wasn’t in a huge rush, but found my patience soon tested by the couple ahead of me in line. They appeared to be tourists from Germany, and must have had seven cards on them. The woman swiped each card, withdrew cash, and handed it to the man. Then she would insert the next card, and repeat the whole process.
As a result, I must have been in line for close to 10 minutes. The man behind me grumbled and I noticed several rolled eyes. I was able to keep my cool but was disappointed to see that the couple never offered an apology or so much as a conciliatory smile. I’m not sure why they needed so much money from all of those cards, but they must have realized that they were holding up the line. In the past I’ve stopped at an ATM and had to do multiple transactions, but have always offered to let the person behind me go ahead, or at least apologized for the extra delay. It would have been nice if the couple had doen the same.
If you are holding up a line (whether it’s at the ATM or the grocery store), appearing apologetic can help defuse the situation and shows the people behind you that you respect their time and feel remorse for wasting it. A little civility goes a long way!