Line etiquette 
We Canadians are considered 'polite' - the Molson Canadian beer commerical tells me so - so, when I get an e-mail like the following, I must take it very seriously.

Don, maybe you want to answer this question for me on your blog, give me a Dear Abby answer.

There are 3 cash registers. Only one is open. It has a long line-up. There is a cashier milling about the 2 closed cash registers. The train is soon arriving. If I stand in the long line-up then I'll miss my train for sure. If I go to one of the closed cash registers and if it opens I will have a chance of catching my train. At worst, I end waiting longer for my ticket for the next train.

I chose to stand at a closed cash register. Before long I am accosted by a person in the long line, "The line is back here buddy". I state something to the effect that it is okay because I'm waiting for a closed cash register to open. The accoster is not impressed, he says that those in his line would get to go to that cash register if it opened. I wait for a closed cash register to open.

The departure time for the train passes so I sit on a bench to do work and will catch the next train (why wait at a closed cash register when there is nothing to be gained).
One of the closed cash registers does open and the accoster does change lines along with others (I did not observe how they negotiated who changes lines and in what order the new line is established).

After the lines dissipate I pick up my ticket and take next train. I walked down the tracks and was pleased that the accoster was also waiting. I continued my work until the train arrived.

Question: Did I break line etiquette by waiting at a closed cash register?

Dear Waiting,

Yes, you broke standard line etiquette. Only open registers should form a line. When an additional register is opened the accepted procedure is that the odd number 'waiters' in the queue move to the new line.
The fact that the 'accoster' ended up waiting with you for the train is interesting. If the closed register had of opened immediately, and you were waiting there, you would have made your train but perhaps the 'accoster' wouldn't have. He was waiting longer than you and should have received service earlier.
You shouldn't feel ashamed - only those that are afraid to ask the question and never learn should be ashamed.

Yours sincerely,

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