Saturday, June 15, 2013

change. but not that kind of change.

I don't like to be bothered when I shop. I have worked in oh so many retail stores and I know all about having a spunky district manager who pops in just when there is a lull and you get caught talking on the phone. The district manager  will need to tell you about The Latest Daily Target Goals From Corporate! The district managers all fall into two categories: extremely well-put together, hard-core- gym-goers who are quickly climbing the company ladder and are a wee bit intense; or sort of sad with clothes that don't quite fit and they spend their store visits telling you about the boyfriend they had in 1982 that they should have never let get away because they haven't had a date since then.

And lest it sound like I was a slacker, I was a little bit, but for the most part I would do anything to be busy, including polishing the the faucet in the restroom and cleaning out the microwave. And that's why I was always promoted within the first month and then I would be expected to do all kinds of things like balance the register tape with the receipts and use mathematical equations to see who had met the target sales goal and who had to be reported for not  promoting the new spring colors. And that was usually when I started to look for another job. Because I hated the selling part of retail. I loved helping someone who wanted help and debating the merits of that top with those pants or how to make your eyeliner last by tapping eye shadow over it with a teeny tiny brush. But I hated pushing our products on people or hovering around them when they clearly wanted to browse and do a little meditative shopping on their own. And why the higher-ups didn't understand that accosting the customer and driving them from the store would not equal greater sales, I will never know.

But I digress. If I spoke Italian, I would so be an awesome store clerk here. Because not only do they not have daily sales goals, they don't even acknowledge that they have customers. I can shop in the smallest, most perfectly arranged  boutique( that usually intimidate me to the point of not entering) because no one is going to show the slightest bit of interest in me, much less make me feel like I'm going to set off an alarm if I check to see if a sweater is made with wool. I know that if I need help, the salespeople are happy to oblige, but they have more of a I'm-busy-standing-in-the-doorway-smoking type of approach to selling their wares. They speak to me only to ask if I have a light.

And I know that they are never mathematically challenged by balancing the receipts at night as I was , because they can't be bothered with correct change. Just the other day I purchased something that came to 31 euro. The clerk asked me if I had any coins. I did not. I had only a 50. She just gave me a 20 in return. I protested because I owed a euro, and tried to give it back but she kept shaking her head no and smiled and waved her hand and sent me on my way. Because she would rather lose one euro than give me the change for 4 euro.

On a family trip to the supermarket, Mike paid and the cashier said she didn't have any change. At the grocery store. A proper American style grocery store.  And her register was full of the money that the manager had just given her. So she asked the people in line behind us if they had any change. They did not. So she asked the person behind them. And so on and so on until someone in line produced the change that she needed to give us change.  And this is not uncommon. Cashiers dig through their own wallets to try and come up with change or just round up and give you too much change in return. I don't get it. But I try to just go with it.

However, this in and of itself used to cause me stress because I lived in fear of not having exact change and holding up the line while everyone searched their pockets and purses for the correct amount, but after my mom mailed me the final piece of identification (the photo from my fifth grade softball team) that our bank needed to process my application for a debit card, I  can now rest assured that I will always have exact change. Because I have a magic Bankomat card.

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