Posts Tagged ‘korean’

Extra-small! We Don’t Have Any!

November 5, 2011

This is definitely a short, yet telling-tale about day-to-day life in retail. I’m rushing back to the fitting-room with clothes a customer wanted, when a Korean couple stops me. They point at a tank top, telling me they want an extra-small. I point at the pile, all that we have left.
They look at me, and not in unison, say again, “Extra-small.”
“That’s all I have left.”
Again, not in unison, this time, yelling, “Extra-small!”
“We don’t have anymore,” I raise my voice a little, as I’ve learned it’s only fair and some people actually appreciate being talked to in the same tone they talk to you. Either that, or they give you some respect for keeping your dignity intact, I can’t tell.
“Extra-small!” They yell louder.
“There is no more!” I reply, but this time, I’ve learned to give that look, the one that crosses languages, the one that makes me a master of non-verbal communication, the one that says stop asking a stupid question, and stop demanding like you’re a child.
They reply more softly, “Okay,” letting me continue my journey back to the safety of the fitting room. Sometimes I feel like a fish trying to breathe outside of water, rushing to get back in.

Customer Types: Learn the Language

What is California?

August 26, 2011

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

NOT M-SIZE!

October 3, 2010

I’m trapped at the cash registers again, and there is a couple visiting from another country, as I find out, Korea.

There was a long line, and I call the next customers over, but the man is standing there staring at me. Other people behind him are staring at the back of his head. Then he starts yelling in Korean with an angry face. He’s looking at me, but I realize he’s yelling at the woman nearby, who is rummaging through a pile of shirts. He yells again, this time at her, tugging on her arm. I just stand there. Finally, she puts the shirts she was looking at, down, and they approach the register.

The woman comes, shaking a shirt, “I like this color!” But, her face is angry, mad. “I like this color!”
“Okay, that’s nice.”
“No, I like this color, but the size is wrong!”
“What size do you..”
“I like the color, but the size is wrong!”
“What size do you need?”
“It is the wrong size! I like the color!”
“Okay, what size do you…”
“I like the color, but the size is wrong! I don’t want M-size!”
“What size do you need?”
“I don’t want M-size!” She shakes the shirt at me, pointing at the Medium sticker printed on the shirt. “I like the color, but the size is wrong!”
I look at the husband, who is also yelling, but at her. I don’t understand what they’re saying, but I’m sure it makes as much sense as I’m hearing.
“This is the wrong size,” she continues, “I don’t want M-size!”
I just stand there, with my hands on my hips. “I know.”
“I don’t want M-size.”
“Yes.”
Then the husband finally cuts in, “No M-size, she needs S-size.”
“Small?”
“S-size!”
“M is medium, and S is small. She needs a smaller size?”
“Yes, she doesn’t want M-size, she wants S-size.”
So I go rummage through the pile, while asking for a stock check. I find an S-size in the same color, but it’s a crew neck, not a v-neck. I leave them behind me, so they can stop staring at me, and instead stare at the counter, or each other, or a nice wall, or whatever. I go into the stock room, restating our ‘conversation’, while a manager on break says, “Breathe!”
I just reply, “They can wait for me to come back, they want the S-size so bad.”

Customer Type: Guessing Game, Learn the Language

Angry Cargo Shorts

July 14, 2010

I’m walking the fitting room, and I see a room with two green cargo shorts. I’m already holding a handful of clothes from yet another room, so I leave it in there to organize what I’m holding. I see a man walk by; he hasn’t been very talkative, nor receptive of help. I walk by his room, and he’s left a pair of green cargo shorts in there. Altogether I now have three cargo shorts, and it’s quite obvious who is trying them on in different rooms. I hang up one size-34 and two size-36 shorts, as he walks in yet again with another pair of green cargo shorts.

As I’m walking out, I hear him yell at me angrily, “Hey you! Where do you think you’re going with that! You keep cleaning out my rooms, and I keep trying on the same pairs of shorts!”
I turn around, glaring at him. “You,” I say, “You keep trying them on and leaving them in different rooms. I’m not the one cleaning them out.”
“No! You are! I came back and my shorts were gone!”
“First, you were in this room,” I point to the room I found two shorts, “Then you were in this room,” I point at the room he just left one short in. “You can have this one again.”
As I turn to close his door, he whirls around staring at me, and slamming his hand into the door keeping it open.
“I’m closing your door!” I tell him sternly, I don’t care how large or how angry he thinks he can be, he’d be sore to find out my limits. I proceed to slam the door behind him. I walk away to tell the manager, and basically all my coworkers about this raging man with low logic skills. Since I’ve been told to stay away from aggressive people, I have someone else watch the fitting rooms for me.

Soon, I see him leaving as he stares at me while walking out; he’s carrying a shopping bag from our store. I tell the cashiers, “Well I guess he bought his shorts.” Then I find the manager in the fitting room, telling her the same thing.
“Oh, that was his shorts? I asked if they fit okay, and he just made a noise and walked out.”

Aww, here I was hoping he’d complain about me, but I guess he realized how much of a dumb munch he was being. I didn’t want to tell him I have a photographic memory about these things, and I could probably redraw all the pimples on his face accurately, even coloring in the bright red ones he has.

Smile, he’s going to live and die in blatant ignorance. If anything is a wasted life, that is.

Customer Type: Big Baby, Capitalist, The Dumb, ESP

Beijing with Love

June 23, 2010

In another incidence of cultural clash, I was trying hard to help two women who spoke very little English. Basically, they held a sweater, saying, “Size,” then point at another sweater in a different color–saying they wanted one color in the other color’s size. Got it? Good. So far, so good. Except, they kept asking me for help and became decidedly more and more confusing. Speaking to each other, I detected accents of Korean, so I called a co-worker who could speak Korean.

As she approached, they suddenly saw her and started to call out to her, waving her over. I thought it was over, and sighed happily as I walked away. Less than a minute later, the girl says on the walkie-talkie, “They aren’t speaking Korean, I don’t know what language it is, maybe Chinese?”

Okay, so I call over another coworker who speaks Chinese. Yet another exchange ensues, and yet again a failure. She comes up to me saying that she’s never heard their version of Chinese before. They say they’re from Beijing, but their dialect is totally different.

So I looked it up, and I found Beijing’s national language, which is only the dominant language, of course. Mandarin pops up as the first, primary answer. Yet, I also see something called Mandolin. Interestingly, there is also the Guangzhou dialect of Cantonese. Well, we definitely got no where with them.

Although they attempted to buy something, they had no understanding of our sales tax, which amounted to about 4%. After a long exchange of misunderstanding and defensiveness, acting like we’re cheating them, I don’t think they bought their $20 sale sweater, because of the added tax of about $0.80. Yes, eighty-cents. I have something to say, but it would be misconstrued.

Customer Types: The Dumb, Learn the Language

For Shame!

May 19, 2010

As a testament to my statement that I can ‘Act More Korean Than a Korean’ I have a story to tell. It was the end of a long, irritating day, part of a long and irritating week. I already had two bad happenings, which I’ll write about later. Two Korean women come up to me asking if this ‘discount on denim’ works on their chambray shirt and denim shorts. And I tell them, “No, it only works on the full-length jeans. The computer doesn’t accept shorts or shirts. Only full-length.” After making sure they were clear, I went along on my way.

Several minutes later, I am in the fitting room, and I hear on the walkie-talkie, “Hey, does the discount work on a shirt or denim shorts?”
“No, only regular jeans.”
“Well they said someone told them it works.” I turned my head faster than the world spins; I’m quite sure the earth stood still for a moment in consideration.

I stalked out of the fitting room, straight to the cash registers; nay, I stomped, bashing floor tiles as I walked. I turned the corner, and there they were, the two Korean women, playing tricks. I go up to them, shaking my head.
“For shame, you lie. You know I told you it doesn’t work. For shame!”
The cashier turns to me, “Are you speaking to me?” She has just given them the discounts, which they know they should not have gotten.
“No,” I point at the women, “They asked me, and I told them it doesn’t count. They lied. For shame. Shame on you! How embarrassing you have to lie. For shame!” I continued to speak to them as children, shaking my head, and their only response was to turn away, looking down, because they couldn’t make eye contact with me. I also made the ‘tsk, tsk’ sound, just for emphasis. I will explain all of this later. I kept saying “Shame, for shame!” as they took their ‘deals’ and walked away. I will not be forgetting people who lie, especially using me for that cause.

So what just happened? Shall we explore it?
You see, many Asiatic cultures, especially around Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea have ancestor worship. They live as examples of honor and respect for their family and those who came before them, this often includes anyone of their culture whom is older than they. My words were chosen correctly, because if I challenged them, if I said they lied in a different fashion, then they would have and could have yelled back. When have you not seen a Korean being lectured, who yells back and get obnoxiously loud? When they are wrong.

I spoke to them as a child, as they too have spoken to their children who lie, who do bad things, telling them to be ashamed of themselves. They have made their parents, their parents-parents, and all their ancestors who no longer live bear a sign of shame because of their actions. This I reminded them, by saying “For shame,” over and over, so they knew, they would get their discount, but at what cost? They lied to save a few dollars, that is embarrassing, it is disrespectful to me, and brings shame to them and their houses. All the spirits of their family will look down on them as they carry their disrespect and shame. All to save a few dollars. For shame. For shame!

They could not get mad or yell at me, as they have done. They cannot have long discussions and questions challenging this rule or that rule, as many do every single day. They knew they were wrong, and admission of this fact was their inability to look at me, or speak. They knew who was right and who was wrong.

As my coworkers gasped in amazement, I just shook my head. The older Korean women looked down, not making eye contact with me and walked away with their discounts and their pride broken. They’ll know better next time than to lie, especially to me or about me. I told my coworkers, those women will need to put out some extra oranges in their shrine tonight for the deals they got.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Liar

Magic Panties

February 27, 2010

I’m not involved in this, but I was just standing nearby–as usual–watching the story unfold. On the walkie-talkie, I hear a co-worker say a customer has some panties with no tags, she wants to return and find out how much they are worth.

The story, as I was told, is this:
The woman comes to the register and hands the cashier several pairs of underwear. She says she doesn’t want them.
The cashier checks the price of these unknown panties, and they are over two years old. The cashier tells her this, and says they’re worth a dollar.
The woman replies, “But I can’t keep these, I don’t want them. I didn’t wear them.”
The manager is also there asking why she waited so long, why she decided now that the doesn’t want them.
It turns out, she visited her psychic. Yes, her psychic. And her psychic told her those colors were bad luck for her, so she had to return them, she couldn’t keep them. Who could refuse an explanation like that, right?
But my manager is resolute, telling her the panties are worth one-dollar.
So the customer says, “But I’m Korean. I’m from Korea.”
And my manager told me, she wanted to reply, “Oh… Okay! In that cast, they’re worth fifty-cents.” We had to stop and laugh at that one. But my manager continues, “Really, who cares where you’re from or who you are? They’re two years old!” But she didn’t say any of this to the customer. She only told the woman there was nothing she could do.
The woman explained that she could only return her panties now, on her trip. In the end, the woman just takes her dollars, since she can’t keep the panties. They are bad-luck, you know. (I decide this will be my reason to return something, if I ever do have to return something, “My psychic said so.”)

Now, I’m just wondering, did she go to her psychic, pull out her panties and say, “Hey, I bought these. Do you like them?”

When is a Sweater Not a Sweater?

December 5, 2009

So a Korean customer is standing there, trying to ask me about sales. We have discounts and sales on sweaters throughout the store.
“So all the sweaters are on sale, right?”
“Yes.” We go through cardigans, turtle-necks, and all types of sweaters. And I assure him, all sweaters are on sale.
He points at a leather jacket behind him, “So that’s on sale, too, right?”
I stand there for a moment. I don’t know what to think. I just say, “Between you and me, we both know a leather jacket is not a sweater.”
We stand there and look at each other for a while. I don’t really know what else to say.

—–
This reminds me of a story from a coworker a week before. Another group of Korean customers were in the store, and we had a similar sale on sweaters. We tell them the sweaters are on sale, and one of the men asks, “So these are on sale?” And he points at a wall of shoes.
“No, all sweaters are on sale.”
The man turns to a wall of scarves, “Oh, so those are on sale.”
“No, sweaters, those are scarves.”
I eventually find out the man speaks perfect English, so I have no idea why he is acting like he doesn’t understand anything we’re saying. Oddly, he also has issues with leather jackets. He approaches me with a leather jacket, because we have that amazing additional 40%-off sale items. (I really don’t like huge sales, it brings in the best and brightest.) He asks if this is on sale, and I look, and the item is marked down, so I tell him it is 40% off of $150. Then he says, “How much is that?” By now, I’m really just tired of how much his brain is on vacation, or how much he wants to look like he doesn’t know anything. I ask him if he really can’t do the math…
Internally, I think: It would be, for slower people, 40% of $100 is $40. 40% of $50 would then be $20 (because $50 is half of $100). Are you still following?
I tell him, “It’s $60 off.”
And he suddenly collects his wits, and says, “Yes, you’re right.” Gosh, really? I am? At least I don’t mistake shoes and scarves for sweaters.

Customer Type: The Deaf, The Dumb, Learn the Language