One of my continuing frustrations at living in Switzerland is the number of people who will completely ignore the fact that others are already waiting for service and go directly up to the staff. There is usually quite a lot of grumbling, but no one does anything about it. Including the staff member even when they have seen it happen.
This occurs often enough that I have spent a great deal of time analyzing it. Frequently while watching it happen once again.
This is my theory. The Swiss tend to be extremely non-confrontational. Therefore, the Line-Jumpers know there is very little chance that anyone will call them on their behavior. And when someone does, they act very innocent as if they didn't see the line and had no idea it was even there.
I have learned to combat this by confronting them and they usually back down pretty quickly.
This afternoon I was standing in a line of three people waiting for one of four cashiers to be available. A woman breezed through the door, walked past the line and stood immediately behind a customer who was about to be handed their purchases.
The man in front of me and the man behind me both looked perturbed, but did nothing.
"Entschuldigen Sie!" said I.
The woman turned to look at me.
"Eine line!" I said, completely forgetting the German word for "line."
She pretended to not understand and turned away.
"Nein," I say, pointing at the line, "Eine line."
She went to the end of the line and said "Es tut mir leid. I weiss nicht." (I am sorry. I didn't know.) As if! Of course she knew! It was very obvious there was a line of people waiting for help.
The man in front of me gave me a short, but emphatic, nod of approval.