Sunday, July 16, 2017

cashier bitch

All I want to do, when I go to the grocery, is shop and get outta there. Normally, that's how things work, but every once in a while, I find myself dealing with some cheeky bitch of a cashier who wants to fuck up my day. It's standard procedure for these ladies to ask me whether I want a bag, and if so, what type. I can choose between blue garbage bags (that serve perfectly well as shopping bags, mainly thanks to their handles) and white eMart plastic bags. I always choose the latter because I save the bags and use them for sorting out the recycling. (It's ridiculous, but I have six small garbage cans in my apartment: two are for generic garbage; the other four are for the recycling—paper, glass/aluminum, PET plastic bottles, and plastic bags/wrapping, which Koreans call binil, i.e., "vinyl.")

Today, I asked the lady for two eMart bags. She didn't acknowledge that she had heard me, and she gave me only one bag. "Please give me two bags," I said politely.

"Yes," she responded with obvious irritation, making as if she'd heard me the first time. Had she? If she hadn't heard me the first time, she was being rude by sounding irritated now. If she had heard me the first time, she was being rude by not giving me two bags when I'd asked for them. Either way, she was being rude.

The lady rang up my purchases and shoved a slip of paper in my face: "This is your discount coupon," she began in Korean. "You can use it next week, okay?" She said the "next week" in English, then said "Discount coupon!" in English.

"It's okay to speak to me in Korean," I said with a smile. I often say this to Koreans who automatically assume I can't speak Korean. In the meantime, I was wondering why the lady had begun her coupon spiel in Korean, then switched to English in mid-stream. I can only assume I looked especially stupid to her. Normally, when I admonish cashiers by saying that speaking Korean is fine, they respond with a smile.

"Huh?" grunted the cashier, unsmilingly. What I had said had been perfectly clear, but she was obviously one of those people who, upon seeing a foreign face and hearing understandable Korean, couldn't process how that was possible.

So I spoke more slowly and more loudly: "You can speak Korean to me."

She rose her voice in response: "I can speak Korean to you?" Then she gave me the complete coupon spiel again, this time entirely in Korean. I could have cut her off and said, "You already told me all this," but she was in cunt mode, so I let her ride it out. When she finished, I gathered my bags, thanked her, and left the store with a "Goodbye," to which she did not deign to respond. What a fucking twat.

Just venting, guys. Just venting.


King Baeksu said...

The ajummas at my local e-mart are generally pretty nice to me. It must be a tough job sitting there for eight hours a day doing mindless repetitive work. I suppose they get into a zone or routine to minimize the emotional drain of interacting with an endless conveyor belt of customers, and anything out of the ordinary may disrupt the complacency that sets in with them.

Every once in a while a similar thing happens to me that happened to you, and I try to tease them by asking in Korean, "Oh, you're not Korean? Don't you speak Korean? Would you prefer Chinese or Japanese?" but then I realize I must sound like a real asshole and start feeling very guilty.

These days I try not to sweat the small stuff and find that I'm generally much happier as a consequence.

Kevin Kim said...

I have a friend who, when he gets a grunted "Huh?" from a cab driver, responds with a rude banmal "한국말 몰라?" It doesn't usually help the situation. (My friend and I are in our 40s; the average Seoul cabbie is apparently now in his 60s.)