Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grocery Story

While we were away, our car was parked in the Bay Area.  The Bay Area around San Francisco can be a very very nice place, and it can be dodgy.  I don't think my sister parked the car in a dodgy area, but some punk took the time to scrape the tags off of my car.  It is clearly vandalism.  Anyone can see that they have been scraped away, and clearly I am not the person who would sabotage myself (okay, sometimes I do, but not deliberately).  I need to fix the problem before the authorities see it, and with me, they always do.

I need to take the time to go to the DMV and tell them the story, and probably pay some fine.  I also will have to endure the inhumane treatment that we all have become accustomed to at the DMV (with rare exception).

That's the setup.  I really want to tell you something that you may not know about the Czech Republic.  It isn't some scandal about a pen stealing leader (see the video below), or an old ghost story from a tower in a castle, but about the grocery.

When you stay in a country for 5 weeks you have to eat, and I went to all kinds of groceries: big city groceries, mall groceries, airport groceries, closet groceries, green groceries, bio groceries, super markets, and small village shops.  In the Czech Republic, there are groceries EVERYWHERE!! The big Czech secret is that the workers from the DMV in the United States, and the grocery clerks in Czech Republic must be genetically linked.

At first I thought it might be a language barrier problem, and after staying a while, I realized they just hate their jobs.  They look down, they mumble numbers (which doesn't help in a foreign language) and they certainly don't smile.  They also are sitting down, which only adds to the pathetic ambiance.  I attempted to give my 'American Smile', as that is all I can do without knowing how to speak Czech, but I only tried twice.  It made me feel even more foolish.  The astonishing part of the 'checker attitude', is that it is my experience that nearly every Czech person is as friendly and fabulous as you could meet, even if all you can say is 'hello'.

I asked around to see if this was usual, and it is.  No one thinks that the lady ringing them up might smile, or look at them, or ask about their kid.  I almost felt like I was in trouble buying cheese and bread.  Is this the wrong kind of cheese?  The only place I ever feel that way, is the place I need to go.  I'm already feeling guilty and ashamed that someone else defaced my licensee plate, and I haven't set foot in the numbered line yet.  At least I don't have to go there very often.

1 comment:

  1. Ty, the biggest difference I saw first staying in Victoria was in grocery stores (and buses). Clerks were smiling and talking to me, asking questions about my non-canadian accent and even suggesting me some interesting tips where to go. :-) I know they are not paid well here. It is probably the biggest reason. But truth is if they don't smile they will not be paid more. ;-) So now they have bad salary aaaand they are grumpy. Hope is I met some nice and talkative friendly people there too. :-)

    I know it was mainly about your tags. I am sorry. :-)