Monday, August 04, 2014

...and then there are the unhelpful ones

I had written earlier about the good and helpful people I recently encountered. Alas, the world is wide, and people come in all shapes and sizes, not all of them pleasing. Unhelpful people also abound, more's the pity. At E-Mart on Sunday afternoon, I made a beeline for the packing station, which is where shoppers use store-provided boxes, tape, and scissors to create their own packages in which to seal up and carry their purchases. My goal was to steal five boxes; I had been to several neighborhood grocery stores, all of which had uncharitably told me they had no boxes, despite my having seen empty boxes in their storage rooms.

I was about to carry my five boxes out of E-Mart when an older ajeossi stopped me and said, "You can't take those boxes. We don't have any." He said this while standing next to (1) a rack with dozens of empty cardboard boxes in it and (2) a large flatbed hand truck on which were stacked another several dozen boxes.

"But there are lots of boxes," I said, pointedly staring at the embarrassment of riches on the flatbed. In an unintentionally comic moment, the ajeossi actually paused, perhaps to consider how to rebut the obvious. I was trying not to laugh out loud while this poor chump attempted to exercise his dubious authority. Finally:

"No. There are no boxes. You can't take these."

I made a placating gesture. "Just two boxes, then, Ajeossi," I said. He nodded curtly. I walked away satisfied because the ajeossi hadn't been counting: I had taken two boxes and placed them into a third box, then carried all three boxes away.

Jedi mind trick.

ADDENDUM: I did meet one very helpful person on Sunday, though: at an art-supply store near my studio, the cashier told me he had no usable boxes at the moment, but said there would be some empties on Monday, after a delivery run. That's the sort of customer service I'm looking for, and it's really not that hard to provide. As it turns out, though, the three boxes I stole were enough: I don't need any more boxes. Sorry, art-supply guy.


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