I'm from India. In our railways, we have multiple ways of booking tickets, one of them being the regular way (stand in the queue) and the other, a card which lets you get your ticket printed on a separate machine. You can recharge a fixed amount on the card as required.
I use the said card and frequently get requests from people (strangers) to book their tickets (of course they'll pay me) so that they can avoid the usually long queue. I personally want to politely decline due to:
- This said card is very easy to get
- I wouldn't ask someone myself if I were in their position. I would wait in the queue.
- Due to this problem, there are even railway employees who sit at these machines, offering to print tickets. This is another alternative and while there's still a queue, they can go there.
I do make exceptions: if the person looks like they're especially in a hurry/seem desperate/disabled/senior citizen whatever... I do book it.
So far, I've taken the easy way out by saying "I'm in a hurry.", a white lie: which may be an etiquette issue? Besides that, have also felt I need to justify my, perhaps unexplained and possibly rude, refusal.
So I thought of something along the lines of explaining point 1. Adding how unfair it would be to the others standing in the line if I "favoured" this person by booking (Point 3). But I'm afraid that might lead to the person becoming more defensive.
Is it good etiquette to state my rationale while declining such requests? Either case, how to refuse in such scenarios in as polite a way as possible?
I don't mind if someone ignores cultural context here since general etiquette will help all, including me. But please mention it if you do so!