Shampoo Fight

I experienced a very typical French argument today where everyone announced their opinion to the world and then argued incessantly over something that had no real importance. I went to Tati, a super-cheap department store that sells every piece of rubbish you could ever want for really low prices. I went there in search of socks for my latest sock-creature endeavours and suddenly decided I should buy some toothpaste because we are running low. I went to the cosmetics/hygiene product section and dodged past some of the slightly less-hygienic folk who frequent that part of Montmartre and who spend a lot of time hanging around Tati. Some people really need to learn to cover their mouths when they cough.

While I selected my toothpaste of choice, an elderly man was at the checkout buying a bottle of shampoo. He then started arguing with the check out lady about the price of the shampoo, saying “I’m sorry to argue with you, Madame” followed by, “But you’re wrong.” The check out eventually stood up and walked with the man to the shampoo shelf to confirm the price of the shampoo. Underneath the shampoo was a price, however this price was for a different sort of shampoo which the check out lady had great happiness in pointing out. The man then argued that whatever price is situated under the product should correspond to the product therefore he should only pay the advertised price. The check out lady insisted the man should pay the price the computer says the product is and that the price on the shelf is just wrong.

This argument went on for about five minutes and then the man had left, paying the full price for the shampoo. The argument continued. The woman in the queue behind the man congratulated the check out lady saying that the man most definitely should pay full price, no matter what was marked on the shelf. The check out lady was pleased by this. But then the second woman in the line declared that the prices on the shelves should be marked correctly and the man should have been allowed to pay the price as marked. The first lady in line left the shop and then a very firey argument between the second lady and the check out lady started with the check out lady shoving the customer’s products in to a plastic bag and barking out the required amount. Essentially they just kept talking at one another, not listening and not really caring what the other person was saying. This lady then eventually left having been rudely yelled at by the check out women yet not even noticing because she was too busy arguing.

Between this woman and myself was a man who had been rolling his eyes for most of this time. However, once he reached the check out he then started agreeing with the first woman and the check out lady. I stood trying to understand as I was asked for my opinion and apparently didn’t provide enough information. All I wanted was to buy toothpaste and leave. Finally it was my turn to be served and I could pay and run away. I stepped outside and breathed a sigh of relief to be outside in Montmartre surrounded by the normal, regular people trying to sell copy Gucci bags and dodgy cigarettes. I can handle them. It’s the weirdos who argue about the price of shampoo who mess with my mind.

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