Lady Buckeye and I were shopping at Uniqlo in Seoul. I’d needed to pick up some new shirts for school and a few dresses had caught her eye. When she went to try them on, I went to pay for my stuff to pass the time and not stand around. As I approached the registers, I saw a cute college-age girl behind one of them. She had a ribbon in her hair and a giddy, easily-amused demeanor from the looks of it. As it happened, she got to ring up the goods when my turn came. An opportunity to try some “cashier game” and have some fun thus opened up. Despite the language barriers most Koreans know rudimentary English and will work with you to understand broken Korean. Besides that, the only way to get better is practicing.
I walked up with a smile, gave a hearty “Hello!” and gave a “Hello” back. Time to step it up. “This was a great shopping time!” I said in Korean. [In truth, I’d found several new shirts that I liked]
“Oh really!?” She acted like she’d never heard such a thing before. Maybe she hadn’t? Big smiles resulted anyway.
I put my shirts on the counter and she rang them up.
The store has this procedure where you put your money or card on a tray and hand it to the cashier, so when it came time to do that, I pulled out my check card and did some mock dramatic waves before saying, “This is…a magic card.” She giggled. It was working. Here was something different, something that few, if any, others were doing when they talked with her. She rang it up and said, “Here is your magic card” before handing it back. Again, more giggles. The smile held. I knew she was having fun because she was using my words. I was enjoying it, too. “Thank you! Bye bye!” I said with exaggerated inflection. She did the same.
No doubt about it, she would remember that exchange. I acted differently than the other people in the store and thus broke the monotony of cashiering. I had fun doing it, too. We both did. Dannyfrom504’s written many posts about the idea of being different and breaking the routine. Other commenters have done the same. In virtually all cases, doing so results in an entertaining little scene. Moreover, the “magic card” routine was an way to practice Korean and chip away at some of the shyness I can get with speaking Korean in public. Maybe you can try the “Magic card” idea too.
References / Notes:
http://dannyfrom504.com/2013/06/17/sunday-fun/ – Talking about t-shirts
http://dannyfrom504.com/2013/06/12/itlr-giving-her-shit/ – Pun intended…