I Would Have to Check

Stay in any place long enough and inevitably one of two things will happen: you will get sick of it and leave, or you will eventually die there finding things along the way to your checkout date that both drive you crazy and make you love where you are. While I am in theory a long, long way from punching the mortality timeclock, I am starting to hit the point in Spain where there are things that drive me crazy (jamón being one of the things that gives me bouts of culinary epiphany.)
I suppose a good deal of the source of my annoyance is because I am actually starting to be able to converse a bit better here. This is a double-edged sword though as now, I know what the people working in stores are saying and when they say, “I would have to check”, they make me insane.
“I would have to check.”
In the US, we often hear this, but it is in the much more passive form of, “Let me check.” as in, “I need to do my job, go back and see if we have this and then sell it to you.” Because let me emphasize that, “I would have to check.” is followed with a bovine expression and a complete lack of movement. The person working in the store just stands there until you prod again with something along the lines of, “Okay… so check.” and then it’s a sigh and then it’s a check and then it’s often coming out with a size 45 shoe when you emphatically stated that you are a 46 and no, you don’t care how “big” this 45 is, it’s not a 46.
It’s a lack of caring because they’re only earning 1,000 or maybe even 1,500 € a month, which is a crap wage in a city like Barcelona where the cost of living is the same as San Francisco. It cripples the retail industry in Spain, which is only saved by the fact that there are so many tourists who tolerate this and keep buying things.
It also makes me nutty, because there are great clothes and shoes in Spain that aren’t made in Thirld World sweatshop conditions. It’s one of the rare places where I’ll actually buy something to wear, but as it gets to be more and more the case that you practically have to beg the people working in the stores to buy what they’re selling, you start to wonder why you bother. It’s one of the few instances, where I actually appreciate the sales attitude in the US, despite the fact it’s so pushy. I’ll take that over someone not even bothering to sell to me.
Anyways, end of rant. Off to eat Manchego and figure out which 3€ wine will be the best tonight, because if you’re spending more than 3€ on a bottle of good wine in Spain, then you’re probably actually in California.
I Would Have to Check