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    The Big Country Of Small Talk

    | UK | At The Checkout, Geography, Money

    (I work in a large retail clothing chain in the UK. The chain is actually an American brand, and popular in both countries. I am serving a customer at the till. I am always friendly to my customers, and always make small talk.)

    Me: “Hello, sir, how was your day today?”

    Customer: “Why do you want to know?”

    Me: “I was just asking, sir; you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

    Customer: “Quit the small talk. I don’t care what they tell you to say when I am here.”

    Me: “I am sorry, sir; that comes to [total]. Would you like to pay cash or card, sir?”

    Customer: “What’s with this ‘sir’ bull-s*** your giving me?! You should just stick to your job, and quit the small talk. No one wants to talk to you anyway!”

    (He throws his money on the counter, even though I am holding my hand out. I say nothing, and collect his change. He continues to rant at me.)

    Customer: “This is what is wrong with the world! People are becoming robots, and just saying things and not meaning them! It’s all fake smiles and stupid small talk!”

    Me: “I do not get paid any more or any less for talking to you, sir; I was just being polite. I am sorry if I offended you in any way. Have a nice day.”

    (The customer glares at me. His eyes go wide, and he starts to go red.)

    Customer: “HAVE A NICE DAY?! HAVE A NICE DAY?! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN! WE ARE IN ENGLAND! WE ARE NOT AMERICANISED! THIS IS ENGLAND! I SUPPORT OUR ECONOMY, AND I DEMAND TO BE TREATED LIKE AN ENGLISH PERSON!”

    Me: “Quite right, sir, we are in England as you correctly pointed out. However, you do realise that you have just spent money in this store, which happens to be an American company?”

    (He opens his mouth to retaliate, but he can’t when he realises what I have just said. The line of customers behind him all start laughing at him, as he walks away rather briskly!)