05 February, 2010

From the Vault: Exact Change in Romanian Shops

Context: Expat Forum thread:
"If I had the right change or something smaller I WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!"
by Harold Sacks
Posted Aug 3, 2009 6:54 PM

Sorry, about that. Had to get it off my chest.

I sometimes just want to ask them if they know why they are called "Cashiers" but i expect it would fall on deaf ears.

Ken H. Posted Aug 21, 2009 4:30 PM
Post #: 191

In case you think the "happy medium" is to give coinage so you get back an even note, forget it!

There's a small sweets store next to the office where we all run for life support during the long afternoons. The last time I went for my choc- er, nutrition fix, the bill came to 4.60 lei. The smallest bill I had was a 10 but I did have coins so I gave her 10.60 so I'd get a clean 6.00 back.

She stared at the money on the counter for a full 7 seconds. Doesn't sound like a long time? Just now, count it off to yourself and imagine that's how long someone is staring motionless with a line of customers waiting. Immediately after that I swear I heard a sound like a cross between a truck trying to shift without the clutch and the old teletype-style computer sound effect from the first Star Trek series. The cashier started blinking more and more rapidly and sweat started trickling, then pouring.

When I saw the first wisps of smoke coming from her eye sockets, I shouted "Everybody DUCK!" When I realized half the crowd hadn't moved and the other half was now frantically scanning for quacking waterfowl, I remembered where I was and this time shouted "JOS!" We hit the ground just as her head exploded. A wad of gum, launched in mid-chew, shattered a bottle of Alexandrion behind the register. One earring was later discovered firmly embedded in the far wall. There was far less gore than expected but the metallic odor of helium was almost overwhelming.

The commotion was so great, that the manager in the back office actually TURNED HIS HEAD AWAY from "Dan Diaconescu Direct." Peering through the doorway at the carnage, he sighed deeply and unfolded himself. Stalking to the register, he saw my payment on the counter and immediately nodded with understanding. Popping the cash drawer, he slapped down 6 lei with all the contempt he could muster. Then he grabbed a mop and shooshed us all out the door. When it slammed shut, he turned the sign to "Inchis" and, muttering all the while, unveiled a second sign, well-worn but still legible: "Angajam Personal."

I have since learned to maintain my desk with a stash of sweets brought from home.

- K -

Ken H. Posted Aug 25, 2009 11:32 PM
Post #: 196

In case it wasn't obvious, I did indulge in a bit of creative license in my account of events.

It was actually a bottle of Murfatlar behind the register.

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