I am disappointed with how Vietnamese normalize line-cutting, unlike Americans

By Xua Hien   January 16, 2024 | 07:55 pm PT
Staff in the U.S. firmly refuse to serve those who cut in line and direct them to the end of the queue, while their Vietnamese counterpart often do not intervene.

Drawing on over 20 years of living in the U.S., I often find myself comparing Vietnamese and American social behaviors. And I have noticed that in terms of public conduct, Vietnamese people seem to lag behind those in other countries, particularly in queuing etiquette at supermarkets.

When I have confronted line-cutters in the U.S., they usually apologize, and the supermarket staff promptly ask them to join the back of the line.

There have been instances where line-cutters hurried to place their items at the counter, but the staff would still insist that they respect the queue order, sometimes even involving supermarket security to enforce this.

People queueing at a store in Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu

People queueing at a store in Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu

On the other hand, during my visits to Vietnam, I have observed a stark contrast in handling similar situations. Despite my complaints to the supermarket staff about line-cutting, they often took no action, processing the line-cutter's payment first.

There was one time when I expressed my frustration vehemently to the staff who ignored a line-cutter, before eventually leaving the store without purchasing anything and deciding to never shop there again.

These experiences highlight a significant cultural difference. Returning to Vietnam often means having to compete for a place in line, unlike the orderly queuing I am accustomed to abroad.

This makes me ponder whether the practice of students lining up under supervision in schools translates to orderly queuing in everyday life without such oversight.

I wonder if others have had experiences similar to mine. What are your thoughts on this matter?

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