What is California?

I wander up to a customer rummaging through a pile of pants. I ask if she needs a size.
“Yes, I need two zeroes.”
“Double-zero?” This is an American-size, roughly meaning really tiny, or smaller than small. I’m sure triple-zero exists.
“Yes, two zeroes.”
“So you need size double-zero or two zeroes?”
She looks at me curiously. I point at the pants she has, which is a zero, “You want one more? Or you want a smaller size?”
“Oh, this size is fine. I want two zeroes.”
Obviously, clarity is lacking here, but I get the point and search if we have any more size zero pants.
“I’m sorry, you have the last size zero at our store. The next closest location is in California. They still have some left.”
“California? What’s that?” The way it’s stated, it sounds like she’s referring to California like a cardigan or cropped pants, or perhaps a color of the rainbow.
“California,” I show her the screen on our register and point at the address listed, “It’s a state.”
“What? What is California?”
Obviously, when someone taught this woman English, they left out certain things. So I just say, “We don’t have any here.”
Then she points back at the table, “I wanted to get two, because they’re ten-dollars each!”
I follow her bony fingers leading to the sign on the table, which says, “Tank tops $10.” Well, we’ve got a winner here. I am uncertain how much English she has learned, or how much she can read, but I’m sure she didn’t graduate at the top of her class. I inform her that the tank tops are, well, tank tops, not Californias nor pants. The pants are full-priced.
“Oh.”
I don’t stick around to find out if she buys the pants or not.

Customer Types: Agreeing to Disagree,  Learn the Language

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One Response to “What is California?”

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