October 22, 2009

Can I afford it…? Yes, yes and for the umpteenth time, yes!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:50 pm by potofcallaloo

I was rushing with a friend to have some semblance of a lunch break. My radio class had just been given an assignment due in about two and a half hours. On the way out of university, I opted to stop at our convenient in house Costa. I decided from quite early that I’d have a tuna sandwich and for my sweet craving taste buds – a yummy sponge cake slice sandwiched with jam and topped with shredded coconut. Having stood in the line behind five people, I had well sufficient time to decide on what I’d purchase but for some reason when I got the counter, there was a problem.

I thought that I was quite clear and succinct when I placed my order. But then the lone sales clerk pointed to my cake and engaged me in a conversation that went like this:

“Did you see the price?” (sales clerk)

“Yes I did”

“It’s quite expensive” (sales clerk)

(silence…me looking on)

“It’s £1.20” (sales clerk)

“It’s fine”

“The tuna sandwich is £2.60. Ok?” (sales clerk)

(me staring in disbelief)

“Ok” I muttered coldly.

After she finally handed me my order and I paid, I realised I had lost my appetite. No one else in the line before me had been drilled as I had been.

I cannot recall in all my travels ever having to reassure any salesperson that I could pay for something I ordered, which is what I felt I was doing. Why, if as everyone else, I placed an order I should be embarrassed by questioning that implies I cannot afford what I am ordering. Why? Now, obviously from this disconcerting experience I can draw several conclusions – some, all or none of which may be correct. (A) Perhaps the salesclerk was having a bad day and decided to pick on me (b) Perhaps she assumed that I could not afford my purchase on the basis of who I am – a mixed ethnic brown coloured Caribbean girl who looks very different from her or (c) No one buys what I purchased and she felt impassioned to warn me repeatedly or (d) I misread the entire scenario. Whatever the reason, my point is I ordered it and I will pay for it just give me my order and stop with the nonsensical behaviour.  I can afford it!



  1. I totally understand how you feel my dear friend! Don’t think too much about it, maybe just as you said, the salesclerk was having a bad day or maybe she wanted to recheck whether she’s got the right food for you.
    Just, ignore her! I know it made you feel uncomfortable, or maybe next time you can ask her straightly: Didn’t you hear my order? Do I need to say it again?! (⊙o⊙)you know, ask tough questions, simple, and punchy~heheh:))
    Don’t let those people spoil your good mood. Cheer up my friend, tomorrow is a new day~:)

    • Thanks for your reply Crystal!:) I try to give people the benefit of the doubt but honestly I didn’t think it was that she was merely having a bad day… but I will let it pass today.:)

  2. Sha-la said,

    Oh my goodness! How annoying is that! Grrr! I would have plainly asked her “Yes, I want this. Do you have a problem with that?” How rude!

  3. Mark said,

    I would like to see the Tarantino version of this scenario. I bet the sales clerk wouldn’t survive for very long 😉

    Keep up your good spirits and don’t let smallminded people destroy your day.


  4. omg! I would have given that woman a piece of my mind n it wouldnt be nice! ouch!
    im so glad u held ur cool alisha! way to go!

  5. sheldon buckmire said,

    sad to know that stuff is almost universal, i get similar scenarios right here in trinidad!…by the way Alisha, you did not read it wrong! the sales clerk read you wrong!!!

  6. Gaysh said,

    next time, harness the attitude that you’ve been exposed to in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and make the provoker regret the cursed day of their birth. 😛

  7. Alicia said,

    OMG!!! i can’t believe it…i would immediately jump to either the salesclerk was having a bad day and decided to pick on you OR which is the more appealing choice…you are a brown skinned Caribbean girl..who may or may not be able to afford it…!!!! I would have stopped her..told her i am quite aware of the prices, because being a consumer and a customer i would have acknowledged it prior to deciding my purchase, thank her for making me aware of the prices, but prompt her…that her JOB is to take my order and avoid unnecessary conversation…LOl… 🙂 the nerve….

  8. Sarah Munn said,

    Good to give people the benefit of the doubt, Alisha, as you said.
    However, if the salesclerk was simply taking her frustration from a long day out on you, I think that’s poor service. People in the hospitality industry are supposed to be exactly that: hospitable.
    And, if this is a situation of racism, I think it’s ridiculous. In this day and age! Unfortunately, I think most of us (this generation) can say we’ve experienced some sort of racism, whether directed toward us, a friend, a family member, or even a random stranger. It’s very sad, but at least the world is gradually becoming more open-minded.

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