Pregnant Lady Checkout Line

Two of the stores I frequent in Bulgaria have very cool checkout lines, in theory. The first store has a line specifically for people who have small children and are not purchasing candy, cola, or other foods with sugar. I think this line is a great concept except that it is the very first line available, so everyone uses it anyway, and it still has cookies and candy stacked along the conveyor belt. I would think the reason for having that line might be to help people deal with kids who get bored in line and so demand every chocolate bar they see, but nope. Fail.

The second store has a line that is for pregnant women, women with small children, and disabled people. Since I got pregnant I have been eagerly waiting the moment when I actually LOOKED pregnant enough to justify using that line. Honestly, I felt much sicker and it was much more difficult for me to stand in line when I was two months pregnant and not showing at all, but I still waited, out of respect. Finally, the other day, I decided to use the line. After all, I only have three weeks left and I look about ready to pop. The shop was not too busy and most registers only had one or two people, but I wanted to use my special checkout lane. Nikola and I went to the lane, which had two women and a couple in front of me. Gently, Nikola said, “Excuse me, but this line is reserved for pregnant women and invalids,” while pointing to the huge sign above the women’s heads. The woman next in line turned around and glared at us, looked me up and down, and snapped, “Well, good for you!” while glaring at us. She then picked up her belongings and moved to the next free line. She actually finished her purchase before us, and as she exited the store she was still grumbling that she only had two things and was in a rush. It kinda tainted the whole pleasure of using a specially designated checkout line.

It got me thinking about all of those specially designated areas. People have become so wrapped up in their own situation that politeness which used to be common, such as giving up your seat on the bus for an elderly person, now has to be designated. And, if a person dares to call someone out on that designated spot they get upset and indignant about the inconvenience. In Turkey I was constantly saddened by the number of men who did not give up their seats on public transportation for women with small children. The busses in Istanbul are so crowded that young children can easily get trampled on or separated from their caretaker at any stop. Also, with the groping that is rampant in that city it is often safer for a woman to have a seat. But young men, of working age, stare absently and would never think of giving up their seat to a woman or child.

So then, I wonder, who “deserves” preferential seating? Who deserves a closer parking spot? A wider parking spot? Obviously pregnancy is not a disability, and plenty of people don’t think it is fair they have to accommodate children in any way, let alone give their parents preferential treatment. So, where do we draw the lines? I guess that is a question for later. Right now I am really wondering, once the lines are drawn, why do so many people take issue respecting them. If you break the speed limit, why do you try to get out of a ticket? If you are in a line designated for people other than you, why do you get upset if someone asks you to move? 

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