Last night, as I was about to finish the last lap of my jogging route, I got lured inside a bookstore.
The smell of paperbacks and the sight of stacked books on sale made my heart beat faster. I remembered my first job in the Philippines and how wonderful it felt to go to work everyday, greeted by the aroma of books and coffee combined.
I looked around and saw the staff fixing newly arrived books. At that moment, I wished I was working in that bookstore too. But what happened next made me take it back.
A man suddenly stormed into the shop and pointed to one sales guy.
”You help me. I need book for exam, learning English. You have? Where, Where? Not like that yani…”
They disappeared among the shelves, the man harshly demanding for that certain book. Then I heard a woman in the counter raising her voice to the cashier,
”Why the machine not working? I want to go now.”
The cashier apologized and asked for a minute as he tried to make the credit card reader work. The woman noisily drummed her fingers on the counter.
”Why like this? Yala, give me now!”
I turned away not wanting to witness what would happen next.
There is really something different with how customers treat sales people in this country. They succeed in many ways to make you feel low, dumb and useless. Is it really that hard to be gracious to others?
I have worked in sales for a year in Abu Dhabi to know this and if I were to gather all the demeaning words I received and indecent actions done towards me everyday, I could build a tower that would reach the skies. At the end of each day, I would go home feeling more worthless than yesterday.
Before I left the bookstore, I stopped by the cashier and smiled.
”This is a very good shop. The books are organized and well categorized. I will come back again. Have a nice night.”
The cashier smiled back at me and politely said thank you.
I wonder how many kind words he heard today.