I wasn't going to write about this because I am tired of writing about, ranting about, thinking about the differences between San Francisco and Portland, but today I need to get something off my chest. Please bear with me while I process.
Yesterday I met Twizzle of Baboon of Magnesia for hot caffeinated beverages. She is a Seoul sister in the blogosphere. There aren't that many half-Korean women with quarter-Korean kids that I come into contact with, so when she invited me to meet her, I jumped at the opportunity. She is sweet and stylish, and our kids look alike (weird). I had a great time chit-chatting with her and joking about being "Korean" like only Koreans can. (Yes, there was a small fight over the bill. I won.)
Twizz lives near a very trendy shopping area in the Oakland/Berkeley area, but it's a teense more mellow than similar areas in San Francisco. As Bunny and I were heading back to our car, we passed a flower shop. Bunny loves to smell flowers and they had a large fountain-y bowl thing filled with bashed gardenias that had seen better days that I thought Bunny would like to smell.
It had no sign on it, no prices, and so I thought it was a display. After all, having grown up in Hawaii, I know how delicate gardenias are and how the slightest touch can turn them brown. And having been a semi-regular flower shop patron for much of my adult life, I also know that gardenias for sale shouldn't be slopped into a bowl of water where the exposure to the air and the water can quickly to turn them into compost.
I was wrong.
Bunny leaned over the gardenia and took a smell. To help her, I carefully reached UNDER the flower to avoid touching the petals to bring one closer to her nose. Then I hear from out of nowhere I hear, "PLEASE. DON'T. TOUCH. THE. FLOWERS.," apparently coming from Queen Condescendia. "It turns them brown," was the follow-up.
Because she spoke to me like I was five and because I have a big mouth, I snarkily muttered, "Well, they're all brown anyway." "That's because people keep touching them," FlowerBitch scoffed as if my tiny pea of a brain couldn't possibly understand why. I am sorry that I touched if I shouldn't have. Maybe I should learn not to be so presumptuous, but I am a toucher when I shop. I can't help it. I'm a smeller, too.
Here's a little tip for the assholes who own the flowershop near 63rd and College in Rockridge:
Put a sign on your precious gardenias if you don't want people to touch them. I realize that you think it is shabby-bohemian or whatever to have your gardenias-for-purchase displayed in a bowl as if they are an afterthought in your establishment, but you really should be storing them under refrigeration.
Oh, and another tip: displaying mums front and center in your flower shop makes people think you're cheap and have crap flowers in your shop. I realize yesterday was a holiday, but someone should have been planning inventory better.
This is the thing. I'd like to believe that that wouldn't happen in Portland. In Portland, I've had flower shop employees hand flowers to my kids. And not the cheap ones, either. We'd go to shops and there would be a basket of toys for children to play with while Mamma shopped. People are nice there.
Here people expect to be abused by retail and service employees. We tolerate it as if it is normal. It's not. I miss standing around at the coffee shop shooting the shit with the people who worked there. I miss the smiles from people who are mailing your letters or bagging your groceries or taking your order.
I feel like writing a letter to Mayor Hottie asking him to institute a citywide "Be nice to your customers" policy. I have decided that I am not going to patronize any business where employees are rude to me. I wonder if there will be anyplace left to shop in San Francisco? This city would be so much better if people were nicer.