Friday, September 16, 2011

"I don't live around here."

When we decided to take this job in Saudi Arabia, I resolved myself to try to avoid being THAT girl who simply had to find a way to work the fact that she lives abroad into every conversation. You know the one. She drops the fact that she's an expat in front of waiters, parking attendants, and other complete strangers.

I'm not saying I always succeed at that endeavor, but I do try to make an effort.

There is one area in life, however, that I pull the expat card right away: the cash register.

I have always dreaded checking out at some stores because I know they are going to hit me up for a frequent-shopper rewards card, a credit card, or my email address so they can notify me of any upcoming sales.

I DON'T WANT IT! Any of it! I just want to buy my stuff and get out of the store!

Before we moved, the transactions went something like this:

"Do you have a _(insert store name here)_ credit card with us?"

"No, I don't. I'll just pay ca--"

"OH! Well, if you sign up today you can save up to 10% on your purchase."

"No, thanks. I'm trying to quit."

"It's very easy to cancel the card at any time. You just need to call the number on the back and you'll still get to save 10% on today's purchase."

"Nope, I'd just like to pay and get out please."

"Alright, but you can also get bonus points for every $100 you spend and you can use those towards some menial, pathetic reward like $5 off a $5,000 purchase."

ok, I exaggerated that last bit

It's an exceedingly uncomfortable situation for me because I'm sure this poor schmuck is trying to get a commission or something but I DON'T WANT YOUR CREDIT CARD!!

But now! Now this transaction goes like this:

"Do you have a frequent buyer's reward card with us?"

"No. I sure don't."


"And I live in Saudi Arabia, so I'm not really all that frequent a buyer anyway."


And then it's nothing but the beeping of the scanner logging my purchases.

Sometimes, just for giggles, I'll string them along.

"Are you interested in saving 20% by signing up for our 'This Place is Bananas' awesome reward card?"

"No, I don't live around here, but thank you."

"Oh it's got a great reward program and you can use it at any of our store locations."

"I don't think there are any of your stores where I live."

"Well what's your ZIP code, I can do a search of all 50 states and find the location nearest you."

"We don't really have ZIP codes where I live."

"....Where do you live?"

"Saudi Arabia."


I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a small amount of satisfaction from the look on the poor clerk's face as he tries in vain to search his memory for the training session that taught him a convincing response to my answer. But one doesn't exist, SUCKA! Just finish ringing me up and I'll be on my way.

Vicariously yours,

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