Puzzling Situation at Starbucks

Last weekend, as we frequently do, my daughters and I met a good friend of mine at our local Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate.

At the Starbucks there is an entrance to where the lineup forms and then a “path” to exit after you have ordered your food or drink.

It is all very orderly. Usually.

Until someone enters the “exit” path and unknowingly proceeds to the front of the lineup, and inadvertently bypasses all the people who have taken the time to line up and wait for their turn.

And that is exactly what happened to my buddy and I. We were standing at the front of the lineup and a young woman walked in the exit line and stood in front of us waiting to place her order.

I politely told her that the lineup formed behind us. Although I told her about the line-up for somewhat self-serving reasons, it was also out of respect for all the people who were in the lineup behind me.

Now here is the puzzling piece. She turned to me and my buddy and said “oh gee, what would I do without two big men to tell me, such a dumb little girl, how to do things.”

I had no idea how to respond. So I went to my default reaction and laughed awkwardly and then pretended it didn’t happen. She left the front of the line and went to the back of the line so I didn’t have to say anything more to her but, what a weird awkward situation.

The reality is that I would’ve told anybody who tried to bypass the lineup that they were entering from the wrong spot. It wasn’t because she was a young woman it was because she was inadvertently bypassing all the people in the lineup.

Was I wrong? Should I have just left the situation alone and not said anything to her?

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9 Responses to Puzzling Situation at Starbucks

  1. marilyn wokatsch says:

    You did exactly what I would have done Stacey and have done ! The young lady herself embarrassed herself and you with those remarks. I think you not responding was appropriate .

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would have done the same! Playing dumb and possibly using her ‘female’ status to get away with it knowingly (unfortunate but still happens) is just bad manners! But yes, a surprising response from her!

  3. Erlinda says:

    I think you did the right thing. Her response was out of line… pardon the pun. I am a strong feminist and take into consideration the “hidden” sexism practiced in daily social situations, but above all, I believe in beginning with respect and kindness when interacting with people. She was firstly disrespectful by not considering there may be a line-up in a busy coffee shop and then unkind by making the remark she made. It’s understandable that you didn’t respond to her considering what she said, but letting her initial action go would’ve been wrong.

    • Karen Harbick says:

      I totally agree. I would be interested to know what she would have said if it had been me, an older woman, pointing out her mistake (if indeed, it was not a ploy). It might just have been a different version of her ignorant response.

  4. Heidi says:

    Absolutely appropriate to say something!

    And frankly, I would suggest you should have replied to her. Something along the lines of “nothing to do with gender actually – it’s about respecting the people who have waited in line.”

    Of course, always hard to think of something in the moment, when faced with a shocking response…

  5. Grant says:

    Interesting twist on the usual (and very often justified) criticism, of “mansplaining”. However, where many women have justifiable criticism of men talking down to completely competent women, it seems she turned this on its head to justify her rude, or at least insensitive behaviour. It’s a shame….being polite should be completely gender neutral.

  6. Nancy says:

    NOT WRONG… Some people are just DUMB asses… Keep on keepin’ on….

  7. Sophia says:

    If I had been standing behind you when she said that response I would have said something along the lines of “from one female to another, yes you are dumb, and obviously you needed someone to tell you where the line was whether it man woman or child.”

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