I love sleep, you all know that. So in the mornings, more often that not I sleep until the last possible moment and then rush around like a maniac trying to get myself clothed and made up and presentable for work. Usually, this doesn’t include brushing my hair (though oddly, my unbrushed hair gets more comments than my brushed hair….go figure), and it rarely includes breakfast.
Now, I have to eat breakfast every day. Not because I’m all, ‘I need my metabolism as high as possible!’ (side note: I threw away ALL my skinny clothes this weekend, realizing it’s over and they’ll never fit again), but because I have meds I have to take in the morning with food. If they’re taken without food, it ain’t pretty.
So this morning was quite typical, in that I arrived at work, unkempt, hungry and late. Meh. Deciding I was still within the acceptable range of normal Talea-late, I went to one of the food-dispensing outlets in the concourse level of the building I work in. I am hesitant to refer to them as restaurants, as they do not meet my standards for such, especially in my fair city of Toronto, the capital of restaurant culture.
I went to one of them, which is staffed entirely by Chinese women who appear to know three sentences. One woman who works there, her specialty sentence is “Hiiiiiya! Kah I hyep yoooow?” in a VERY loud, nails-on-chalkboard voice. I ignored her, as I do every morning, because I hate mornings and I hate being yelled at and I hate being hungry and I can’t stand her voice and don’t want to initiate her into any more conversation. I studied the menu board, appearing to be in deep concentration and she went on to yell at my other hungry colleagues.
I waited for a co-worker of hers to come up and ask me in a more polite, ear-friendly manner what I would like to consume for my morning meal. I requested the same thing I do every day I go there: a cheese bagel, toasted, with cream cheese.
I noticed two bowls of cream cheese sitting there and asked her if there was a difference between the two. Without skipping a beat, she waved around her knife, landing in the general vicinity of one bowl and then the other, stating: “Dis rite and dis legular”. Very matter of fact. Ah yes, the R’s and the L’s thing, it cracks me up. I opted for the rite cream cheese, as I think that it probably has enough calories as it is and the legular would be even worse for my svelte figure.
I made my way to the cash register, waiting for the crapshoot that IS the price of aforementioned toasted cheese bagel with rite cream cheese. Every day, these ladies pick a new price. This isn’t just my experience. Em has it happen to her all the time too. One day, the bagel is $1.60. The next day it’s $2.50. The following day it’s $1.90. Today, since I used Interac, she decided to charge me $0.10 extra. Now, I don’t care about 10 cents, but the point is that she never charges me. But today there was a new rule apparently.
So I started arguing with her (this is screaming-over-the-counter-at-me lady from earlier). I was asking her why her prices change every day and why today I suddenly have to pay a premium to use my debit card. Her response was ‘No. No. No no no. Nooooo, no. We no change. No no no.’
Alright, bagel witch. I KNOW you speak english. I’ve spoken to you before. I’ve even figured out how to decipher your consanant-switching. Rite and Legular? I got ya. But as soon as I start asking questions that you don’t feel like answering, you forget English?
Fuck you and fuck your bagels. I REALLY hate it when people do that. A lot of Toronto’s service industry isn’t actually Canadian. They’re ‘Something else-Canadian’, meaning they speak English as their second/third/fourth language. That’s cool. I wish I was bilingual. But I really hate that when they don’t want to deal with a customer,they just stop understanding. Seriously? Am I supposed to believe that? Or they turn to their coworker and start rambling on in a foreign language in front of me, clearly griping ABOUT me.
I think that is about the rudest thing you can do. Turn away from me and start speaking to someone else in a different language while I’m right there. Just answer my question. Tell me what a cheese bagel costs. Stop jerking me around.
So I demanded a receipt. And I will continue to demand receipts to show them how variable their pricing seems to be. I don’t care what it costs, I’ll pay it cuz I’m lazy. I’m only asking for consistency! But at least if I have pieces of paper, I can point at the prices and make the universal ‘what’s up with that’ shoulder-shrug gesture. I know they understand numbers, they’re Asian for god’s sake! (Please note, if you are offended by non-PC literature, you probably should have stopped reading after you saw the title. I will not be blamed for the offense you may be taking right now).
The WTF-gesture is universal my friends, even if English isn’t. Or if English comprehension tends to be spotty amongst those I encounter and get into spats with.
I’ll figure out this damned bagel business. And if I can’t, I’ll start pretending I don’t understand how much money they want from me. I’ll just continually thrust forth my change and feign ignorance. They’ll probably start refusing to serve me. But there’s a few other food-dispensing outlets there that I can harass until I burn those bridges too. I’ll start worrying at that point…..or probably just start waking up a bit earlier.