Catasauqua Press

Friday, July 10, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Checkout tirade

Saturday, October 12, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

While shopping last week I had an uncomfortable experience at the checkout counter. The line was long. A customer behind me was loudly expressing disapproval. How should I respond to a stranger’s rude and impatient behavior?

Dear Reader,

We all have to wait at times, taking our turns and being courteous. But I suppose someone didn’t get the memo. There’s a chance the impatient stranger had a lot on his or her mind and may have been trying to multitask through their day. The frustration built and you became an unlucky witness.

Anytime you encounter a situation like this, remember you are only responsible for your own behavior. You can’t control anyone else. Practice controlling your emotional response. Don’t take someone else’s impatience personally.

When a customer behind you is becoming noticeably antsy, it’s best to stay quiet. Maybe he or she is having a bad day and is venting. No matter what, don’t join in the tirade, as it only will make the situation worse. Choose to be polite. Take a few deep breaths, shake it off and if possible, find humor in the situation.

Anytime you are dealing with strangers who commit questionable infractions, I suggest smiling politely and without judgement. You probably will never know what events may have transpired that day to cause the rude behavior.

In the fast-paced world we live in, we could all use a little more patience. It’s time we all slow down and handle impatience with patience.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst