I enter the corner shop for lunch. I decide on a bottle of coke and a sandwich.
The Indian behind the counter says:
“That will be €5.75 sir.”
“Sorry!” I reply, surprised at the cost.
“Well,” begins the Indian, happy to inform me, “The coke is €1.25…”
“WHAT! It says 75 cent on the bottle.”
“I know sir, but I really love this coke.” He cradles the bottle in his arms like a baby, “I couldn’t see it go for less than €1.25.”
“Well…” I think for a second. “If you really love it…. Then ok. But €4.50 for a sandwich! You got to be kidding me. It’s a plain tomato and lettuce sandwich.”
“Yes sir, I know. But, you see, you are very lucky to be buying the sandwich now. In an hour, we change over to late prices and the sandwich will cost €6.99.”
“But in an hour…” I check my watch… “It will only be half two.”
“Yes sir, here it will be half two. But in India, it will be late. You are not a, how do you say, racist sir, are you?”
“No, I am not.” I force out and, reluctantly, hand him a ten-euro note.
“I’m never going to shop here again, you know.”
“Yes you will, sir. And here is the wrong change.”
“I’m sorry sir, but I am new to this country and am yet to learn your currency. You are just going to have to accept it.”
He hands me a twenty-cent coin.
“… Fine but I don’t have to like it.”
And I leave.