Sometimes when I come back home to Hawaii as I have been this week, I find it hard to adjust to the pace of life in the islands. This morning I went to a local department store called (of all things) Don Quixote. Apparently, Don Quixote is a popular discount store chain in Japan. When I lived here, over the years the store was known as Holiday Mart which was bought out by Daiei, which was bought out by Don Quixote a few years ago. Anyway, Don Quixote is a store frequented by elderly local folk. To be honest, it is a pretty weird store. Their philosophy is that people like to browse so they dispense with the familiar run of the mill product groupings found in most stores … All of the laundry soap in one place … All of the towels in one place … In lieu of that boring tried and true classification scheme they seem to elect to just put things wherever it is most convenient for the stocking crew. You find bug spray next to the facial tissue next to the chocolate covered macadamia nuts. It is quite something to behold. I actually find it rather entertaining to walk through the place, but checking out is where I sometimes struggle.
Because it is a place frequented most by elderly Asian women, the checkout line is painfully slow!!! This morning, I wanted to pay for a $1.98 roll of Christmas wrapping paper, a roll of tape, and a Christmas card. There were four women in front of me and it took me about 20 minutes to check out!!! First, being a discount store, Don Quioxte doesn't exactly hire Malia from the top of the 10-key class at the local business college. Once Puanani (who apparently graduated third from the bottom of her 10-key class, but got the job at Don Quixote anyway …) actaully gets the items rung up, each of the four women in front of me got out a check book and wrote a real live check!!! When was the last time YOU remember seeing four different people in a row pay with checks??? They fill out their checks, "Pay to the order of …" Then need to check with Pua about the spelling of "Don Quixote."
Pua: "Don Q-U-I-X-O-T-E …"
Elderly local Asian lady: "Don Q-U … Wha?"
Pua: "Don Q-U-I-X-O-T-E …"
You get the picture … Anyway, after that, Puanani has to ask for their rainbow embossed driver's licenses and record a whole lot of information, then ask for their telephone number. Boy, you really forget, but It's friggin' slow going when you've become acustomed to swiping your card and pressing enter!!! Perhaps the toughest thing is that the ladies are all very old and sweet and polite so you can't say anything or even roll your eyes without revealing that you are a complete ass that still has to go do shopping for presents for your nieces and nephew on Christmas Eve.
And that's why it is hard for me to settle into the pace of island life … Because I'm an ass … That's why …