More trouble than it’s worth

I’ve been looking for a farmers’ market near me lately. The only one I know if is only open a couple of mornings a week or something, so I’ve been Googling to find another one. Today I went to one that I found out about.

It’s a huge store. It’s not just for local produce, but it’s what I could find. But it does have some, plus various imported foods and interesting things. Unfortunately, my idea of imported food is Italian olive oil or Swiss chocolates. They have that, but also all kinds of weird Oriental and Latino foods. Okay, whatever, some people like that stuff.

The prices were very reasonable, which actually was kind of a problem because that means the place attracts a lot of, ah, lower income people, many of whom don’t have very good manners and just aren’t very pleasant to be around.

But the real problem was the staff. EVERY employee there, and there had to be dozens of them – I told you it was a big store – was from a Third World country. No American-born brown people, even. Their English was rudimentary, which meant that the least transaction was unnecessarily stressful. I went to the bakery counter and bought one loaf of bread and had to repeat everything at least twice. I asked an employee where something was, he replied with something completely unintelligible. Finally I guessed that he was telling me to ask a different employee who was standing nearby; the few words I understood were to the effect that this second guy knew that section of the store better. So I asked the second guy, he looked puzzled and said something unintelligible – I don’t think they were badly pronouncing English words, I think they were saying something in some foreign language. I repeated my question, he still looked puzzled and said more gobbledygook, so I thanked him and gave up. A minute later, he followed me to the next section of the store and indicated, with hand gestures and incomprehensible words, that I should follow him. He showed me to the item I had been looking for; it was about eight feet away from where I had been standing when I first asked them about it.

Then there was the difficulty making myself understood at the cash register, especially when for some reason at first it misread my debit card, and the cashier tried to tell me I had done it wrong, but I swiped it again and this time it worked. But she kept saying, “No, you pushed the credit button, that’s why it didn’t work.” This is something I’ve noticed about these Third World people: they have to keep arguing with you. Where an American dealing with a customer or a salesclerk who’s disagreed with them, rightly or wrongly, will just let it go to be polite, they’ll keep flatly contradicting you.

The fresh produce I bought at this store is delicious and was very reasonably priced, but I don’t think it’s worth the stress to go there again.

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