Wednesday, May 06, 2009

And Another Thing...

Anyone who lives in Poland has had the experience of getting to the cash register in a store and having the item not ring up. At that point the cashier becomes Obi Won Kenobi. "This is not the item you're looking for". And she puts it into the pile on the side of her register, where all good items go to die.

Usually I take it as a sign that I wasn't supposed to get whatever it was anyway. I've been known to buy things without any idea what they were used for. For instance, I've bought cream that makes me darker than my natural skin tone (here in Poland of all places) thinking it was a type of moisturizer (I don't actually intend to write about moisturizer obsessively. If you're as interested in moisturizer as I apparently am, you can read more here and here).

This time though, the store had caught on that the item wasn't ringing up and had written the price on the side of the box. The item didn't scan. The cashier looked at me and waved her fingers. I pointed to the price "Tam. (There)." She sighed heavily and tried scanning it again.

"Sześć dziesiąt dziewięć dziewięćdziesiąt dziewięć (69.99)" and I again pointed at where the price was written. She sighed again and called for assistance.

Assistance never showed up. She rang my whole order and nothing. She waved her fingers at me and I went on my way.

It was not the item I was looking for.


  1. I can SO relate to this experience... even not living in Poland. That feeling of maddness creeping up on your barricade, holding in the peace... you can feel it pounding at the gates, yet you hold it off. Hold it off while it takes you 15, 20 minutes of staring at the moisturizer section only to still go home with something that isn't really what you wanted. Wonderful description of what it's like to live in a country where you don't speak the language well (yet) ;)

  2. At our stores they usually get the price and solve all kinds of issues. BUT, they have so many different things to do at the cashier (giving points, calculating special discounts, then coupons and printing special receipts when you pay for your card...) that "ringing the items" and taking money, giving the change back - is only one of their many activities. And, of course, all that takes time.

    If everything runs smoothly, there has to be at least one customer who comes to the cashier with some vegetables without weighing them first. And then it's the cahier who runs to the scales and gets the price tag.

    And yes, I have been that one customer a few times.

  3. Heehee! Moisturizer seems to provide fabulous blog fodder ;-) What a story! May the Force (and the Olay) be with you.

  4. I just want to know how long it took to get all those accents in, or do you have a Polish keyboard?!

  5. I once bought a pack of sanding sponge for prepping chairs for painting (should have been a couple of bucks) and it rang up as $10,000! Definitely not the item I wanted!

  6. It's amazing how parallel our experience in this area has been. Like you, I also viewed that as a sign that I was not meant to buy that item. They really need to catch on to the idea of price checks!

  7. give me any reason to walk away and I will take it. I shouldm't have been buying it in the first place.

  8. I've visited Poland once, back in 1974. All I remember is going into a store, and there being NOTHING on the shelves. Nothing. And we'd go to a restaurant, and they would have no food left to serve us.

    It seems like the cashiers are so sure of themselves, knowing it just means you aren't meant to buy it. Hilarious!

  9. You know, this doesn't happen to me that often, strangely. However, I often forget to weigh my cucumbers as everywhere I know they are sold per item not weighed... My most bizarre story was being told at Alma that they couldn't give me a Faktura VAT because another Embassy employee's account already had the same address and PIN and they couldn't change the name. When I told her (badly, I'm sure) that she was going to give me a Faktura and that she COULD do it, she started crying and yelling about me to customers and every employee who passed. Eventually the manager arrived, told her to calm down, called their tech guy in from HOME (yes, it took me awhile to get the faktura but by then it was a matter of principle) and eventually he gave me the Faktura. Oof.


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