I have found that orderly queus are rare to see in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Most folks just gather haphazardly rather than form an orderly line. This is especially true when boarding an aircraft in the Eastern world!
Therefore, it should not be surprising to discover that few men and women will line up orderly for services or assistance in Saudi Arabia. Many do not think twice about cutting in front of a line and especially if the patient individual waiting a turn is an expatriate. Although I must say that in my personal experiences, men were usually kind to allow me to go ahead of them in a line.
The women, though, were another breed completely. Saudi women did not have a conscious thought on cutting in front of an expat for service or to ask a question. They would also use their children to do their dirty work for them. Pointed looks or even a comment to these women had no effect upon them or their actions. After all, they were usually completely veiled and thereby anonymous.
However one time even their anonymity would not be on their side. This time I, without knowing, had my own secret weapon with me…Mama Moudy.
We were shopping together in a shoe store. There was a good sale going on and the store was packed. Mama Moudy made her selections and I had made mine. I gathered up both of purchases and went to the cashier. Just as the cashier was taking my purchases from my arms, two veiled Saudi women came up and started pushing my items away and instructing the cashier to check them out. He looked uncertain but set my items aside in order to serve them instead.
The next thing I knew Mama Moudy was at the register beside the two women. She spoke softly and quickly to the veiled woman. Mama Moudy was also veiled. The other women picked up their purchases, apologized to me and moved to wait their turn behind me. Mama Moudy kept beside me until our transactions were complete.
On returning to the car she gave my husband an earful about rude Saudi woman who thought they could push around female expatriates because they weren’t Saudi. She told my husband that she reminded them that an expat female could easily be the daughter of a Saudi mother and should be treated with appropriate respect! No one messes around with Mama Moudy!!