A trip to the mall to buy an oven gives me the chance to show some of the differences between shopping here and in other places. First of all, the choice of ring tones for your door bell:
I can't tell you what the sound is, but doorbells here ring all kinds of odd tunes, ranging from Indian chants to "Old Susannah" to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."
Ours is just a traditional "ding-dong." Thank goodness. But the doorbells were just something I saw on our way to buy an oven. Yes, for over a year I have lived without an oven. No baking, or roasting. I thought we'd be able to go, pick one out, and bring it home. Silly me. I have bought other smaller items at the E-zone, the closest appliance store, but forgotten. Plus, those times I was by myself, so needed to keep my wits about me to focus on the task at hand. This time, we all went -- complete with driver and maid -- so I could concentrate on how ridiculous the whole set-up is.
First, the salespeople show the various models. They kept emphasizing the BBQ feature. The one I really like wouldn't be available for two weeks, so instead we bought one for which there wasn't a floor model, but that they assured me could be delivered the next day. So then we proceed to check out. Despite all the computers you see below, everything is written by hand with carbon paper (of course -- remember, all the carbon paper in the world is now found in India) and eventually typed into the computer by another person. This is not unique to Ezone, it also happens at other places. I'll go take pictures at Reliance Time Out sometime, where the process is especially bad as we often buy multiple copies of individual items. But here you can see the many people at the check out counter. That doesn't mean that it goes fast with multiple lines.
There is often just a mob at the desk, and lines don't seem to work.
Once the purchase has been made, a receipt is given -- a computer print out that is initialed on all pages (off course it is multiple pages, single sided), stamped with some kind of official stamp (at least it is not a real stamp, that is reserved for land transactions), and put into an envelope. It isn't delivered with the same ceremony as would happen in Japan, but neither is it just thrown at you like in the US. In addition to the oven we also bought a vacuum cleaner, so we had a bag that we could take out.
We show the bag and receipt to the security guard, but one guy isn't enough, then the woman in the jean jacket has to okay everything too. In some stores (they have to write down the item numbers in a little notebook). Why use computers when you have them? Now yes, this does generate employment, but surely there are other things that these folks could be doing. Of course, that means that they would need to be educated to do so, but that is the topic of another post for the future.
Oh, and the oven still hasn't been delivered. Brownies will need to wait til next weekend.