Friday, August 08, 2008

Interesting Shop-Boy

Today’s post isn’t funny or anything—it’s just something amusing that happened to me a couple of nights ago. I stopped, after work, at a store to pick up a half-liter bottle of Coke. I paid for the bottle and was in the process of putting it into my bag. The plastic bottle—being refrigerated—was obviously slightly wet on the outside and I was mentally debating whether I should just put it in like that or ask for a plastic bag. I decided that there weren’t any papers in the bag and so it could just go in.

The guy behind the counter was a young boy of about fifteen. He had pulled out a plastic bag from under the counter and was offering it to me—aware that I might not want to place the wet bottle inside my bag uncovered. I shook my head at him and waved a polite, “No, thanks.” I then began to put the bottle in, moving some stuff around.

At that point I heard him say, in English, “Thank you for your co-operation.”

I looked up at the guy—my surprise clearly evident on my face. There were two reasons for the surprise—the fact that he spoke in English (not that he could speak English, but that he did speak English—slight difference there) and the fact that he practiced some form of environmental awareness. Neither of these would feature among the attributes of the average Indian shopkeeper.

I didn’t say anything for a second, while these two thoughts were going through my mind. He saw my silence as a reason to explain. He continued in Hindi, “Well, there was a guy who had come here earlier who bought a small packet of Parle-G biscuits and demanded a bag to carry it in. I tried to tell him that we were running out of bags but he didn’t listen. He was one those goonda types anyway. So I had to give him. It’s nice that you didn’t need one”

I smiled. “No problem.”


Mulling Over My Thoughts said...

you know every morn when i go and get bread, the shopkeeper still offers me a polythene bag, knowing fully well that i won't take it! my roomies on the other hand, can't do without and for some reason, they always have to ask!
these shopkeepers sure have a sense of humour!

Arwen said...

hey cool post write really well..enjoyed going through your posts..keep 'em comin'!!!