Respect your Fellow Customers

This article isn't really about customer service. It’s about the way that customers behave, and in particular, the way they treat each other.
A few hours ago I was shopping at the Leeds City Centre branch of Morrisons supermarket. Going there at 5pm was a pretty stupid decision on my part, because at that time of day this particular branch of Morrisons is always jam-packed with office workers doing some shopping on the way home from work. And it's even more packed with students from two of the UK's biggest universities, that are just half a mile away.
So unfortunately the supermarket was absolutely packed with people and the queue at every checkout was very long.
I only had five items in my basket, so I went into the 'express checkout' queue where you are only allowed to pay for a maximum of 10 items. There were about eight other people in the queue in front of me, including an elderly lady who looked well into her 70s.
Apart from this lady - and myself - I would be prepared to bet that absolutely everyone else in the queue was a student. Well at least they all looked just like students - every single one of them.
The elderly lady was just in front of me in the queue, and she had only TWO items: kitchen towels and a bottle of milk.
I noticed that many of the students in the queue were being a bit cheeky because many of them clearly had more than the maximum 10 items that were allowed at this particular checkout. That's a bit annoying, but I suppose it's something that people will do unless the checkout operator has the guts to make them move into a different queue.
But the thing I found even more annoying was that absolutely none of them offered to let the elderly lady go in front of them in the queue - despite the fact that she literally only had two items to pay for.
If everyone in that queue had let her go to the front then it would have probably only added a couple of minutes to their queuing time. But it would have saved her having to stand for over 20 minutes in a noisy and busy supermarket.
But no, they were all more interested in messing about on their mobile phones, listening to their iPods, or doing whatever kids do when they are standing bored in a queue.
I don't mean this to be a denigration of the younger generation, but I think that some young people can be very selfish, and not realise just how it feels to be elderly and having to stand for a long time in a queue. I’m only 52 myself, and I hate standing for a long period of time. So what must it feel like for someone in their 70s or 80s?
A bit of common courtesy costs nothing. Allowing this elderly woman to go to the front of the queue would have cost these young people absolutely nothing financially. And it would have only meant them having to stand in the queue for a couple more minutes while she paid for her two items.
Unfortunately the supermarket can't do anything about this. A queue is a queue, and there is no law that says you have to give up your place in a queue if you don't want to. But I wish we were all just a bit more aware of the needs of our fellow customers - especially people who are elderly or disabled.