READ EXTRACT

P1015038 (1).JPG

No sooner said than done. With the best of intentions, expecting nothing but joy from life, you run down the stairs and head to the nearest supermarket, while your partner, also in a great mood, stretches out to take a shower.

On the street you are greeted by the bright sun, reminding you of the upcoming trip to the sea. Globalization, you think, how convenient: everywhere you look, supermarkets. Near your house, just 50 meters away, there is one of the branches of the "Billa" company. Ready to embrace the whole world and love your neighbor, as the Bible advises, humming a cheerful song and anticipating the freshest pastries, you come to the red and yellow facade.

At the entrance you are greeted by a plywood figure of Billa's buyer - classic kitsch! - with a branded painted bag in hand, but for some reason without a head. Where did the head go ?! Perhaps she was blown off by a gust of wind, or perhaps this was the work of some intruder (it is possible that this barbarian was in the past an employee of "Billa" and thus settles scores with his former employer). And, of course, the first thing that catches your eye - as in all Billa supermarkets - is a poster: “Billa is the best for me!”. This supermarket loves itself very much and therefore has come up with such an original advertisement so that no one doubts where "the best for him" is.

Perhaps some skeptics have a question: if "Billa" is completely unfamiliar with me, then how does she know what exactly is the best for me? Never mind. Advertising is advertising, there is no need to puzzle over the passages that come down on us from television, newspapers and radio. You never know what they promise!

The poster also suggests that some shoppers have the opportunity to become proud owners of a free branded package. That's cool! "Billa" is not "Crossroads" or "The Seventh Continent"; grocery bags in this supermarket must be paid separately. And here you can get the package for free. But how? You won't understand right away. Maybe you can win the lottery?

However, this whole party does not really bother you. You just want to get your fresh buns as soon as possible and return to your partner to enjoy a romantic breakfast, and let those who dream of them receive free packages.

But it was not there! On the pavement in the second row, there is a huge red and yellow truck delivering goods to the store. The driver, a young Turk in a black vest with the Billa's Car Park written on the back, lowers a cargo platform with three containers full of goods. Numerous other containers wrapped in plastic wrap are waiting in line for loading next to the truck. Some contain paper and plastic waste, while others are loaded with crates of empty bottles. The containers stand right on the sidewalk, blocking the passage.

A man of about thirty-five, in a filthy corporate dressing gown, with a three-day stubble on his face and a half-smoked cigarette in his teeth, is counting the boxes, making some incomprehensible marks on a dirty piece of cardboard with a pencil. Anxiety and doom at the same time shine through his eyes, and for some reason the mechanical movements of his hands suggest a person sentenced to life imprisonment.

You hear the mysterious words: “Oh shit - sent two pallets for forfeits! I will kill Isabella! I will strangle her on the spot, and Anton will not save her. "

It is impossible to understand the meaning of these exclamations. The unshaven enemy of the mysterious Isabella, who, however, is not afraid of an unknown authority named Anton, pushes one of the containers with garbage with the toe of a worn boot, and it runs over your white shoes with its little wheel. However, the strange young man who resembles a prisoner does not apologize, but simply looks at you with irritation. Obviously he doesn't like you interfering with his maneuvers. But how do you get to the store - you haven't learned to fly yet?

The sight of the stern container manager on the sidewalk and the headless figure standing at the entrance, personifying the "Bill" customers, wipes the frivolous smile from your face and sets you up for serious behavior within the walls of the Bill branch. You will see how timely this is now.

You enter the store and go to the counter of Finecost, the delicatessen section, which also houses a mini-bakery. Hilarious music echoes from speakers throughout the store, interrupting every three minutes, and a thoughtful, unnaturally cheerful voice convincingly and patiently explains why "Billa" is the best place for all of us. Like, only with her and you need to deal, because here they sell pasta and potatoes, the sensational prices of which can plunge anyone into ecstasy.

But it is not your plan to be plunged into ecstasy. You just want to humanly buy buns and get home as soon as possible.

You come to the semicircular counter of the Finecost department, in front of which there are five customers, but there is no doubt that they will be quickly served: there are four employees on the other side of the counter, in the sausage and bread department.

However, there is no need to rush to conclusions: in the bread department, only one woman deals with buyers. She is an Austrian woman of about forty, small in stature, plump and phlegmatic. She serves customers in such a way as if she is sure: this world is just an intermediate station between birth and death, and therefore it is absolutely pointless to worry about any reason. On the badge - a bar with a name attached to work clothes - it is written: “Frau Toth, Deputy Head of the Fincost Department. She's probably a "star" here, and no one and nothing can throw her off balance.

Two young girls, nineteen years old, obviously immigrants (most likely from Yugoslavia), put pre-prepared pallets of frozen bakery semi-finished products in the oven; while they use warm mittens, as if it were happening in Siberia.

One has a nose decorated with something like a needle, but there is no name badge. Her friend, apparently, danced all night long, for she literally sleeps on the go, and with open eyes. A crookedly hanging bar with blurry letters suggests that hot liver pate was cut on it more than once. Miriya or Kiriya - her name will forever remain a mystery to you. Both girls wore work gowns, which were once white, and filthy aprons, and deep sorrow reigned on their faces at the lack of harmony in this world. At the disco, of course, it is more fun than at work - who will dispute this indisputable fact?

The fourth person is busy in the sausage department. This is a good-natured-looking man, whose precise and confident movements testify to high professionalism. It is immediately clear that he is in charge here, and on the badge it is written: “Mr. Rutinek, director of the department of“ Finecost ”. The gourmet chef behaves with the same dignity as if he were a lawyer. He serves customers with the patience of a physician accustomed to dealing with violent patients. Everyone works in silence.

The merry song spinning in your head falls silent: among the indifferent and mournfully pensive employees of this store, you look out of place with your causeless joy, like at a funeral. You lose the desire to hug the whole world; looking at the people at Finecost is confusing. But you continue to stand patiently, comforting yourself with the thought that in a couple of minutes you will get your buns.

The benevolent chief of Finecost with the secular manners of a doctor, serving a couple of customers, suddenly leaves the workplace with a guilty smile. In order to justify his departure to customers, he gives important information: he needs to urgently send an order. Buyers take this news calmly - there are still quite enough priests left in the temple of delicacies. However, life is full of surprises - you understand this most clearly when visiting a casino, namely in that phase when you go out on the street, lost to smithereens, and remember that you came in just for a minute to bet ten dollars on "black".

The girl with a needle in her nose, without saying a word, leaves in the direction of the warehouse, pushing in front of her a small funny cart on wheels with trays for bread. The employee's trip to the warehouse - obviously in the case - is not perceived by the public as a betrayal, however, once outside, she takes out a pack of Marlboro from her pocket and lights a cigarette with visible pleasure, from which it remains to conclude that access to the Fincost warehouse is open only to active smokers.

In the department, only the weary Mrs. Toth, a supporter of inner peace, and Kiriya (or maybe Miriya?), Who nevertheless managed to rush from the disco to work on time, remain in the department.

The phone rings loudly. In the store, a bell is clearly heard, and then a man's voice: "Mrs. Thoth, to the phone!" You can't believe your eyes: the only person who really served customers puts the work aside and disappears! There is only one Kiriya left in the Finecost department - Miriya. At the same time, all buyers feel like children whose parents have just left forever.

You get the feeling that you came here for alms. From standing in line for a long time, an inferiority complex develops, there is no doubt about that. A person begins to ask himself why and why he is here at all and what, in fact, he wants. Never and nowhere does the imperfection of the world manifest itself so clearly as in a queue.

A lady of old age and a young construction worker are standing in front of you. “Thank God that older people eat a little” - flashes through your head when your grandmother finally rolls off with half black bread and an apple pie. The turn of the construction worker came, and then something terrible happens: he takes a long list out of the pocket of his blue overalls and begins to read: “Two rolls with extra sausage and a cucumber, one roll with cheese, three rolls with liver pate, one of them anoint mayonnaise, anoint two with ketchup ... ". The list of wishes of his fellow workers is endless! Making an order, his colleagues just went all out, gave free rein to their unbridled imagination and did not limit themselves in anything. The situation begins to take on a comic character. You are probably still asleep, and this is just a dream. It just can't be!

However, all this is actually happening! It’s still the same sunny wonderful Monday morning, but the desire to sing, as well as the desire to love your neighbor, for some reason have long passed you. You have a strange feeling that you may have seizures due to nervousness, and a serious attack of rabies is just around the corner.

Kiriya - Miriya has been fulfilling the order for ages, a terrible worker in overalls puts - package after package - his loot in a shopping cart, and you continue to stand patiently like paparazzi waiting for a rare photo.

Suddenly Mrs. Thoth appears and politely asks: - What do you want?

My God, it can't be! Your turn! Finally! It's finished! Now only forward!

- Three horns with poppy seeds and two long buns, please! - you proclaim, cheering up and feeling proud that you have courageously waited for the solemn "moment of truth". You never know what happens, well, I waited a little, this is not the end of the world? Everything will be fine now, you think, and you smile at the fact that you are able to think positively again.

- Horns with poppy seeds will be ready only in fifteen minutes - the lady at the counter calmly answers, and your positive outlook on life somewhere instantly evaporates. Inappropriate in this situation, your charming smile fades away.

Now you can see why Lady Thoth is so phlegmatic. Because if she paid attention to all the grief and worries of customers, she would have long ago turned into a psychopath - after all, everyone knows that all diseases come from nerves, and so she remains calm and eternally young.

You are silent, trying to comprehend what you heard. Lady Thoth comes to your aid:

- Unfortunately, there are no long rolls either, the delivery has not arrived yet.

And Mrs. Thoth falls silent, as if this statement deprived her of her last strength.

You become restless and fidgety, like a rabbit that rushes around the cage and does not find a partner. The harsh reality has unexpectedly dealt you a heavy blow. You feel that your still orderly and meaningful life threatens to turn into chaos. Hostile forces are ready to scatter your happiness and push your mind into the abyss of wild hysteria. You don't understand this world anymore. Does "Billa" have long buns that are bought in the hundreds every day? Are the poppy-seed horns ready yet? And what did the employees do from the early morning? Did you drink coffee? What kind of games are taking place here? Isn't "Bill" the "best for me"?

All this looks as if you, smartly dressed in an evening dress, in the company of a charming man came to a concert in the kursalon in the evening to listen to Strauss waltzes, which are announced in the program, and would have learned that the conductor simply did not appear, so that there will be no concert. Well, he has no desire to take part in this concert, he wants to relax, so he went to the Roman Baths in the cozy city of Baden near Vienna. And the point, in fact, is not so much in the conductor as in the orchestra, which is also absent. The full orchestra are now on their way to the Swiss House in the famous Prater, where they can drink the incomparable Czech beer "Budweiser". This beer is surprisingly easy to drink, because it is poured not like everywhere else, but carefully, in several approaches, giving time for carbon dioxide to settle. So you have to settle for a jazz trio, since none of your idols are there.

But you don't want a jazz trio! You came to the Kurhaus specially to listen to Strauss' waltzes. No, the clerk patiently explains to you again, only jazz, no Strauss waltzes today ...

You try to pull yourself together, and, in the end, a compromise is found: you take two ordinary, not long, rolls and three ordinary, not with poppy seeds, bagels. Thank God there are enough of them and they are really hot, just removed from the baking sheet. That is, instead of Strauss' waltzes and a jazz trio, you kind of agreed to be present at Chris Rea's performance.

Mistress Thoth packs your rolls and bagels in a beautiful white branded bag with the "Finecost" logo, deftly presses the necessary buttons on the scales - the computer - to print the price on the label. The price is printed, the computer spits out a white strip of paper, and then all that remains is to attach it to the package. However, Mrs. Toth fails to do this, because the stapler has run out of paper clips.

With patience that you yourself did not expect from yourself, you continue to wait. You just turned into a pillar of salt and break all records of tolerance. What else is there for you to do? After all, the wonderful mood has already evaporated. Thoughts come to my mind that outside the walls of the store life still flows, and here you are condemned to eternal waiting, like an inveterate sinner. You wait for new staples to be inserted. Finally, it happens. The paper clips are inserted, the label is attached, you have been handed a bag. Thank you bye. The final.

As in a dream, you are lost heading to the checkout. The long-awaited moment has come - you are at the checkout. Do you really believe it will impress someone?

Eight people stand in line at the checkout, disciplined and obediently. You are at a loss: why is only one ticket office open? Some of the buyers are familiar to you. You remember that you have already seen them in the department of "Finecost". An intelligent-looking man in a suit and a briefcase, standing in line to pay for the only bun with sausage, turns to the cashier for support: can you open a second cash register?

- A colleague went to the bank for a change, she will come now, - the cashier is laconic.

Meanwhile, right above her head hangs a notice in a beautiful red and yellow frame:

In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”

"Bill" will not keep you waiting! If you are 6th in line, please notify the cashier. She will immediately take action, and another cashier will be opened for you. If you are not met, speak with the branch director or call the headquarters at 02236/600 DW.

That's enough for you, and you demand the cashier to call the director of the branch. About three minutes later, an unshaven middle-aged man comes out to you in a long-worn branded work dressing gown. You remember that you already saw him in front of the store today, when he almost hit you with a container. He listens to you without interrupting, with a melancholy look. You complain to him that you had to wait a long time in the Fincost department, that there were no long buns, and now the second cash register is also not working.

“I’m not responsible for Finecost,” you hear in response, “they have their own department head, so complain to him. Or call central. The second cashier will come from the bank now.

The director of the branch "throws excuses" with the same dexterity with which a professional tennis player hits the most difficult balls. After some thought, the unshaven chef adds:

“Besides, we have one person on vacation.

The director doesn't even think of apologizing. He proves to you that everything is going as it should here, that everything is in order, and no one is to blame for anything. Realizing that you still won't prove anything, you decide to spit on this case and leave the director alone. The unshaven boss walks away in silence, but you manage to notice a triumphant grin on his lips.

At this moment, a second cashier in a yellow work coat enters the store. She walks to her cashier holding a heavy sack of change.

The queue is bifurcated. Now people are at both cash desks, you are only the fourth. You stayed at the first cashier, thinking that your rolls would be counted faster here, because the second cashier does not serve customers yet. She carefully places the money in a drawer under the cash register, then hands the change to another cashier. Now your cashier, interrupting work, begins to count the money and check it against the receipt order, and you wait patiently along with the queue. What is left for you? It is clear that no one needs you here with your stupid claims. To yourself you have long seemed pathetic and worthless. You have no desire to call central. You have no desires left at all. It seems that half of your life has passed in this branch.

Finally, the money is counted, spread out in the necessary departments. The cashier of your cash register turns her radiant gaze to the next customer and - oh, joy! - it is accepted to scan the goods.

Finally, it's your turn. The cashier, a young immigrant without a badge on her work robe, doesn't think it necessary to say hello to you. You pay the amount she named. In response, neither "thank you" nor "goodbye". Probably, the robots on the assembly line of the car factory are even friendlier. You might think that by serving you, an insolent foreign woman is doing you a favor. But what about the interests of the company, for which it is important that customers are satisfied? Doesn't anyone explain this to the cashiers at this stupid branch? And why do they go to the bank for change at the moment when they have to sit at the cash register? Although, if there is such a director, then everything is clear ... He doesn't give a damn about everything, he is probably a quitter and a hack. How can his superiors put up with this?

You go out into the street and it seems to you that even the weather has changed, it has become somehow cloudy. But what is it? You refuse to believe your eyes! You see the Chief of Finecost - the same doctor with the manners of a doctor who retired to the bureau to send urgent orders to suppliers of ham and cheese: he is snuggled up on a bench with a cigarette in his mouth and talking on his cell phone. Right under the ad: "Bill is the best for me."

From time to time he shakes off the ashes of his cigarette and speaks into the phone with a grimace of a stressed-out manager:

- You see what the matter. ... Now I have a terrible park, spinning like a squirrel in a wheel ...

Somewhere inside you, something explodes loudly, perhaps it is belief in justice, love for one's neighbor, kindness and other non-constructive emanations. And now everything is smoking in your soul, as after shelling.

Of course, you know that in many places we have to wait, but basically all people are understanding. Each of us, it happens, needs to stand in line, and there is no getting away from it. But today, in this “Bill,” you got the feeling that your personal time has been stolen from you. Not only that: it was humiliating, extremely unpleasant to realize that no one in the store is happy about you. Not only did you get angry with them, you had a terrible feeling that you were betrayed, deceived, and committed violence against you. How disgusting everything is in this store! Yes, they really don't give a damn about buyers! And, as a mockery, all the time this idiotic advertisement: "The best for you!".

No, how disgusting they have treated you! With the best intentions, you go to your supermarket, where you are promised only “the best for you,” and face the harsh reality: no one wants you to get your freshly baked baked goods quickly and without hassle. Here, in this department of "Finecost", no one cares about anything - you are firmly convinced of the correctness of this conclusion.

- More in "Bill" not a foot! - such an oath you make to yourself, heading home. - From now on, I will only buy in other supermarkets. Thank God there are enough of them in Vienna.

In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”

Stanislav Bergo

"I was married to Bill (the story of a supermarket director)."

i (1).webp
Bestellung vorm Regal (1).jpg