There’s a shop near to one of the schools I teach in. I won’t mention its name, just to be on the safe side (and because lawyers are expensive). I’ve just made my last purchase from it. I don’t mean ‘most recent’; I mean ‘last, final, never again’.
Have you ever been on a bus or train and sat next to someone who has obviously never heard of soap? This is the sort of person who was behind the counter one morning last week. Now just once I might think “Maybe this person has come to help out in an emergency. Maybe someone else is ill and he has dropped everything to get here without even enough time to take a shower.” However, when the same person appears a few days later in exactly the same condition I’m going to think differently.
I’m sure you have seen some types of television programmes that you don’t like to watch when you are eating. When you are buying food, especially when you have to wait quite a while at the counter while they put the paper in the till, it’s the same thing. This wasn’t someone who had perhaps not put on enough deodorant; it was someone who stank to high heaven. But what is most amazing is that nobody else in the shop, including his colleagues, seemed to think there was anything wrong with the situation.
Obviously there is no law about running a shop where everyone thinks you live in a sewer, but customers can do something about it. This is what people call „voting with your feet”. It just means going somewhere else. Fortunately for me there is a slightly larger shop five minutes away next to a post office. There are other ways people vote with their feet. In Britain there was a national telephone company and no private firms. When the law changed and the competition arrived, thousands and thousands of people switched to the better (and cheaper) one. A large printing shop made a mess of some teaching materials I wanted to produce so I switched to the smaller, and better, shop just a few metres round the corner. I now do nearly all my photocopying there. And Tesco don’t get much custom from me as the staff at their customer-service desk don’t seem to know what a queue is. Actually, neither do a lot of shops in Krosno, the bad-customer-service capital of Poland, although I must point out that I stayed in a good hotel there. •
a purchase – zakup
a counter – lada
a till – kasa sklepowa
a sewer – kanał ściekowy
stink to high heaven
= have a terrible smell
a queue – kolejka
to point out
(=say, in this context)
Did you know?
Two Prime Ministers in the UK tried the ‘It’s your choice’
approach in the last forty years. One said ‘Who runs Britain?
Me or the unions?’. He lost at the next election. The other was
John Major who said to his party ‘Put up or shut up’
(suggest another candidate for my job or stop complaining
about me). Someone accepted his invitation but lost.
John Major went on to lose the next election.
polecane: Pierwszy Polak połknął elektroniczną pigułkę