Games people play

The lines behind the REWE checkout counters were dense and busy. Christmas was behind us, but grocery shopping showed no signs of lulling. I placed my items — aubergines, thyme sprigs, olive oil, lemon, cheese, yoghurt, sambal oelek sauce, avocados — on the conveyer belt. The woman behind the counter was one of those sprightly, chatty ones who make you wonder if this isn’t the best job in the world. Middle-aged, in her early fifties perhaps, she wore her golden hair in a plait. A round face with wise wrinkled eyes. Simple stud earrings. No makeup.

When my turn came, I greeted her and asked: “Haben Sie eine papiertüte?” Do you have a paper bag?

“Ja, hab ich,” came the reply, as she scanned the groceries and put them aside.

The typical response here is to hand a bag over to the shopper. The woman did no such thing; she continued to scan my items. At one point she looked at me with a cheeky grin, and said: You didn’t ask me for one, did you? You only asked if I have a paper bag.

I laughed, and said: That’s a game I play with others!

Well, now you see that others can play it too! She smiled and gave me the bag.

2 thoughts on “Games people play

  1. I do that too when Katya asks me if she “can” do something! 😉

    Can’t help but comment here: with these two – “aubergines” and “yoghurt” – are you catering to your British audience rather than your Indian (brinjal, curds) or American (eggplant, yogurt) ones?

    1. Simple: it was a suggestion made by the MS Word editor, and I accepted the change from brinjal to aubergine without thinking much.

      I have one reader who lives in London — I’m sure he loved the British touch.

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