Saturday, February 04, 2006

Shopping on the East Coast

I previously wrote about why I hate shopping in California. From Flappy:

Today there was no Long-John-Silver dressed homeless man doing whippets in the dairy aisle with the Redi Whip, but there was a very nice butcher and MORE nice people offering to help us seemingly every 8 feet.

What is it with that? It’s like every store is Bed Bath & Beyond. Drives me batty. Christ, I’m a big boy and can take the initiative and
ask if need help. How helpless and soft can Californians be? And while I’m at it, stranger, stop asking “how are you?” like you care. You don’t care. And it’s not polite. Has it ever occurred to you that I might not be well? Times have been tough. See, my wife just had heart surgery and lost her eye. So what do you want me to say? Because I hate smiling saccharinely and saying, “fine.”

By the time 10 people in the same store ask how am I and if they can help—folks, how much help can you possibly need in a grocery store?—I want to unload real problems: “Oh, thanks for asking. I
hope you can help. See, ever since my father bad-touched me when I was a kid, I’ve been having dreams of sleeping with my mom and now the voices are telling me to hurt people and I have this horrible burning sensation when I pee... could you recommend a nice chardonnay that would go well with that?” …But I digest.

Let me tell you how it’s done in NYC. How it should be done:

I was trying to find an (evidently) obscure little computer part yesterday. So I biked to a few different stores. Then I enter the big box store, and I look for the part. I can’t find it, so I go up to group of employees, actively and obscenely engaged in conversation with each other.

There’s a brief awkward moment where I stand there and they ignore me. Then I say, “Hey, I’ve got a question, do you guys have an adaptor for a video card? DVI to VGI?” They draw straws and he with the shortest straw goes with you and tries to find it. Then he says, “Naw, we don’t got it.” And you say, “Thanks.” And he grunts.

That’s it! Efficient. Effective. Unobtrusive. Nobody asked how I was. And I didn’t offer to tell anybody. It’s not rude. In fact, it’s very polite, because nobody made me feel rude! Nobody puts on a fake smile that says, “Help you? If only cooperate didn’t forbid it, I’d oil you down and give you an erotic message while the vegetable mister coats our bodies with a light summer dew.”

And the Asian guy in Radio Shake even took the initiative and called the Ditmars Avenue store to see if they had it in stock. I love New York. But I’ve still got to buy the damn thing on-line.

3 comments:

Zora said...

The more we harp on this, the more I realize it's the equivalent of loud Americans complaining about bad service in Europe. I just think of California as exotic and charming, and I feel like I get it. Everything's so cheap here too!

Fotaq said...

Oh no! I knew Santa Cruz was no good. Baby, it's time for you to come home!

Anonymous said...

Well, at least we don't give you the 3rd degree when you want to see a specialist...