Once, just once, I'd love to be able to:
hop in my car...
go to the store...
get what I need...
pay for it...
not get in any verbal fights...
drive home with my purchase in under an hour.
You'd think I'd know by now that this is not possible. That things like this only happen in TV commercial. There's a fine line between naivety and optimism. At least there WAS a fine line until last Friday. Now, there's just stupidity on my part.
Besides the logistics of shopping in Athens
, active combat training would be a useful prerequisite to deal with the hostile drivers and salesclerks you are bound to encounter in a (what should have been) 20 minute trip to Carrefour.
I decided to go with my friend to Carrefour
because she needed to start her Christmas shopping (yes, she's THAT organized and she's still my friend) and I needed to buy my son a new pair of hiking boots for our little excursion to Karpenisi. The plan was a good one and probably would have worked anywhere else but in Athens.
So, at 9am I left my house to pick her up. I didn't even manage to make the 10-minute drive to pick her up at her house before I was blockaded by a driver driving the wrong way down a one-way street. I'm quite accustomed to drivers driving down the wrong way on a one-way street since they usually know it and will pull off to the side of the road to let me through. However, this one didn't. No, he decided to head straight for my car, stopping within millimetres of my front bumper and to scream and shout at me for not backing up to let him pass. Had he not yelled at me, I might have considered it. Had I not any other cars behind me blocking my exit, I might have. Had he not called me "xeni" (foreigner), I might have accommodated him. But all 3 of these things at once? Absolutely not. I rolled down my window and told him he was on a "monodromo" (one way street) and I had priority since he was illegal. He continued to shout at me while cars were piling up behind me. It took two bystanders to finally convince the man that the lady was right and he needed to move before they'd call the police. As I drove by, I 'firmly' suggested he should have taken a driver's test instead of buying his driving licence.
I finally managed to pick up my friend and drive to Carrefour. We bought what we came for and a few other things and proceeded to the checkout where I was charged 10€ more than the listed price for a toy that I bought for her son and she was charged 3€ more than the listed price for pillowcases she bought. She let the 3€ charge slide. However, when I was charged 10€ extra we both had a fit because this was the second time in the same store where something we bought was a higher price by the time we got to the checkout. Because I'd already had problems with several other stores in the past couple of months for the exact same thing. Because I just wasn't in the mood for it.
Many times over the years, when the price differs at the checkout from the price listed on the shelf, I question it and complain. And I always hear the same answer..."you must have been mistaken. That price was for another product. You didn't read it well." This time was no different. I can accept that maybe I could make a mistake if I read the Greek description of an item too fast. But this was written in English and I checked it and so did my friend.
I went over to the "Returns" counter to complain and have my money refunded. The clerk told me that I didn't read the tag well and that's why "I was confused" about the price. I told her that my English was excellent and that if the lower price was for a similar item, where was it? Show me the smaller version of the toy if one existed. Like so many clerks before her, she claimed that the 'other' item was out of stock
. If an item is 'out of stock', why, then would the price tag for it be still on the shelf? She then explained to me that I should have...wait for it...checked the multi digit bar code of the item with the bar code listed on the shelf.
Enough already. I demanded my money back and told her not to worry about it anymore since Carrefour was no longer on my list of stores to shop. I don't have the time, patience nor inclination to compare hundreds of bar codes when I do my shopping. I'll stick to the stores where the prices on the shelves accurately reflect the prices at the checkout counter although it's getting more and more difficult to find them these days.