08 January, 2013

Say What?

I had to go into Corozal this morning and I had to look for a grout saw (used to gnaw the grout out between tiles before trying to remove them) and the usual assortment of pharmaceuticals, and a whole slew of groceries.

I thought I'd be a nice guy and ask Denis or Vivien if they wanted to ride along since their vehicle is in the shop up at Rick's getting some new shocks. I picked up Vivien and we tootled off into town.

Our first stop was at Lano's Hardware Store. I needed to get that grout saw I had mentioned. While I was waiting for the crowd to diminish, I got into a conversation with one of the girls who works there about water pumps. I mentioned to her that I didn't see any 1/4-horsepower pumps in their selection. She said "quarter inch"?. I said no, "horsepower'. This prompted her to say "No, we don't have that size. We only have half-inch, one-and-a-half-inch, and two-inch pumps, no quarter-inch pumps".

This led me into a discussion with her about horsepower, what it was, what it meant and that it had nothing to do with 'inches'. It was plain that the further we got into the discussion, the less impact I was having on that stone wall, if you get my drift.

I gave up, just in time to have Mr. Lan's nephew, Kim come to my rescue and asked me about the grout saw. He knew what it was and told me they didn't have any, but suggested I try Villa's Imports - "They have strange stuff like that there".

By now, my head was reeling from the inches vs. horsepower incident. Vivien was done with her purchases, and I with mine, so we beat a rapid retreat to the sanity of the Isuzu. As we headed off to go look at grout saws at Villa's Imports, I tried to tell Vivien about my discussion. She had heard part of it and couldn't make heads or tails out of what we were talking about. Just as well. I couldn't either.

We got to Villa's a few minutes later. After talking to Mr. Villa's son, he found a smaller version of of the saw than I wanted, but I went ahead and purchased it anyway, just in case.
The Grout Saws
After Villa's, we went over to National Hardware and inquired as to grout saws. They had one, more in the line of what I was looking for, with a blade about 2-inches (not horsepower) long, so, long story short, I bought it as well.

Our next stop was at Caribbean Chicken, where I needed to get some boneless chicken breasts and three-dozen eggs. I also had three empty styrofoam egg cartons to trade back in. Something I had done previously several times with no problem. You trade in an empty and they knock a shilling ($0.25 BZD) off the price of a full carton. So, $3.35 down to $3.10 a carton.

Remember I mentioned "long story short"? Forget that.

Of course, it was crowded in Caribbean Chicken. And, as it got to be my turn I passed over my two packs of chicken breasts and the three full cartons of eggs that I had picked up off the table. I also started to hand over the three empty cartons to justify my shilling discount on the full ones.

Whoa right there partner! You'd have thought I was trying to wreck the Belize economy or something. The three folks behind the counter all started telling me they couldn't do that, that I had to be charged the full price of the cartons. Of course two or three shoppers on this side of the counter, chimed in and seconded the storekeepers. I was flummoxed at this point, not sure what to do.

The lady who ran the cash register (and ergo, who I would assume was in charge) jumped up and said they would gladly fill my empty's and give me the discount, but there was no way they could discount already-filled cartons and take the empties.

"Ok", I said. Let's do it that way. I handed the young man behind the counter my three empty cartons. He authoritatively took them and went over to another counter where there was a stack of trays filled with eggs and proceeded to fill each of my empty cartons. Remember I said the place was crowded? Didn't matter. He was out of the flow of customers and cashiers while he filled my cartons. Vivien could attest to this as she was behind me in line.

While he finished filling the cartons, I settled up with the cashier, including the discount. Oh, yes. I also put the previously filled cartons back on the table so there would be no confusion about how many cartons I wanted.
Where Did I Go Wrong?
Once he was done filling them, he re-bagged the now filled cartons in the same plastic bag I had brought them into the store with, and rather insistently offered to carry them out to my car. Obviously, he felt since I was such a dunderhead about empty egg cartons, I couldn't be trusted to accomplish something as complex as carrying them ten feet to the car.

By now, I was becoming embarrassed by the whole thing. I thanked him for his trouble and took control of the egg cartons and the chicken breasts and promptly made my own way, safely, to the Isuzu. I even managed to unlock the doors and sit down, where I waited for Vivien to come out and join me.

As we left Caribbean Chicken to go to our last stop of the morning over at New World Supermarket, we shook our heads and had a chuckle about the cultural differences inherent in speaking English and getting a grip on inches, horsepower, and discounts.

After an uneventful visit to New World where we completed all of the items on our respective shopping lists, we beat a retreat for our homes. It's lucky we're allowed to roam free. It must be the sun or something. Nelson has the right idea.
I Need A Nap!

1 comment:

Wilma said...

We have had variable luck even being able to buy eggs in flats or styrofoam containers at all. Last time, they insisted on putting loose eggs in a plastic bag! I try to remember to carry my own very sturdy plastic egg carton with a locking lid. Our eggs have to make a trip by boat to get to our place. Glad you persisted in getting your discount.