The cashier noticed I was watching and made eye contact, saying silently, “A little help here, chief?” but then scanned the chocolate and said as best she could, “Sistee da.” The guy did not turn around to acknowledge that the cashier had obviously acknowledged me, but instead continued rifling through his items. He picked up the bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion and said, “I don’t want this.” The cashier took it from him and tossed it into a yellow basket off to the side. She continued to scan his items while he hunched over the counter, which made her even more nervous. As she scanned the final item, she tried to repeat his total, but didn’t quite get there. “Won—no—two hunren fo seben.”
Fact: Thanks to the ubiquitous presence of 7-Eleven convenience stores, every single Taiwanese person has a spot-on pronunciation of the approximation of the word “seh-ben.” And actually, I understood what she said: One, no, my mistake, two-hundred forty-seven.
“What?” the guy said, clearly annoyed. “I can’t understand you. How much?”
The poor cashier tried to repeat the total, which again was staring this chump in the face, but for whatever reason he decided to ignore it. At that moment, my cashier snapped the top of the printer back in place, said, “Finished,” scanned my bottles of wine, so I had no choice but to turn back around and hand her four NT100 bills, thus momentarily breaking my concentration. The cashier repeated the amount I gave her, which is mandatory in almost all places of business (suo ni = You give me). Seconds later, the cashier handed me liang kuai (two dollars) and my receipt.
No more than ten seconds had elapsed but things had taken a drastic turn for the worse over at register number one. The middle-aged female manager had now appeared on the scene and was trying in her best approximation of English to tell the guy that they had sold out of the chocolates, regardless of what the other manager had told him, which seemed to be the main point of contention he was holding on to. He kept saying, “I know you have more. Just look.”
Another shopper came up behind me so I had to vacate the register area, but not wanting to miss the resolution, I drifted over toward the bakery section and watched, staring intently at the foreign guy as he pulled another item from the counter, I think it was some kind of canned tuna, and said, “I don’t want this.” The cashier took it and deducted it from the total. Then the guy picked up the pouch of laundry detergent and said in an accusatory tone, “How much is this?”
The manager said, “Eighty-nine dollar.”
The guy fumed, “I can get this at the Matsusei for seventy-nine dollars. You should give it to me for the same price. I’m being over-charged. You’re trying to cheat me.”
OK, stop right there. Everybody. Stop. There is another supermarket called Matsusei less than 70 meters (in fact 102 steps) from the one we’re in right now. I don’t know why Matsusei sells Skippy peanut butter for 119 dollars and Wellcome sells it for 109, while a loaf of “toast” is 30 dollars no matter where the fuck you are. Let’s be adults here and skip the rationalization. Nobody in their right mind, let alone a Lazy Bastard, would (a) make such a big stink about the equivalent of a U.S. quarter or (b) let anybody other than his closest friends and family see him being a cunt.
2 replies on “Only in Taiwan – Episode 3: Special Lazy Bastard Edition”
There is no longer a market for the Reader’s Digest always the optimistic happy ending for U S A U S A. And there is no more helium for the ballon arches either.
More evidence that we all are going to die. Please remind me to re-read this if you, L B’er, catch me being in your eyes overly cocky
asspat & out