Swerving and skulking
Just back from my 4th solo cycle ride! In case you don’t know, I never learnt to cycle as a child – jumping off at the slightest hint of losing balance. R has been very persistent and patient in attempts to rectify this over the last 3 years and I’m now kitted out with a grandma bike complete with a basket on the back, a gel saddle and two separate gear changing knobs – quite.
The local shops are within walking distance but the preferred choice is slightly further away and host to a supermarket with a bakery and butchers onsite.
The route to said supermarket is mainly on a cycle path – a route so beautiful that people holiday here in order to cycle through such gorgeous mountain views. Once I get going, I’m actually ok – it’s the ‘setting off’ that holds the potential for comedic moments. Giant swerves with each of the first 3 peddles but then WHOOSH , I’m away.
On my last visit, I had utilised my beginner german by asking staff where certain items were/if they had more of the item that appeared to be out of stock etc. Rather exhausted by these attempts, I decided to avoid a cashier and utilise the self service checkout. Back in the UK I would avoid these as protest to the fact that machines were stealing human jobs but as I said, desperation to avoid german conversation was upon me.
So….I set the basket down and place my bag on the scales. The screen declares that I need assistance so I look around.. A scream issues forth from a teenager and appears to be aimed at me. The words ‘bad’ and ‘stop’ were the only things I could understand but the tone of voice and decibels were enough to stop me in my tracks
(By the way, it’s incredible how much one relies on tone of voice when you only catch the odd word of what is said)
It would appear that you are not able to place a bag on the scales until you have scanned all the items through. She became almost helpful by the end of the debacle – I did proffer my ‘go-to’ phrase “ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch” but, alas, I fear we will not be the best of friends
Today I returned to the same supermarket and planned to use the cashier but with storm clouds brewing, a lengthy line of elderly customers in front (the treatment of the elderly is exceptional, by the way, and this is not a complaint but an awareness that things would take a while) and the self service machines being completely free; I threw caution to the wind and felt confident I would not screw up. Again.
All went well until I had paid, collected my change and started packing my bag. It seems the machine needs time to collect it’s thoughts before issuing a receipt and it is ILLEGAL to start packing or add your bag as weight to the scales before this sacred moment. Gargh! !! Again, an irate member of staff berates me with ‘schlecht’. I use my pitiful ‘ I only speak a little german’ and get (in German) “Yes, well you still can’t do that. It’s very bad. Whole bag needs to be emptied and you must start again.”
Fortunately, she meant packing and I’d only packed the potatoes but I recovered some dignity upon leaving the self service area, as the lady behind me in the queue (but by this time ahead!) didn’t know you needed to scan your receipt to get out. This foreigner was happy to help!