Thursday, June 26, 2003

I can't believe they tried to charge me the Gringo-Tax in my Hometown.
I went for a walk today, and decided to head into the town to get some lunch at our Central Market House, and sit outside in the courtyard at Cherry Lane, where they usually have lunchtime entertainment on Summer Market days.
It was a trio doing celtic folk songs, all in their late 40s to early 50s, two white guys with grey beards and a white woman.
The way they gave a little monologue with a bad joke to introduce each number, i couldn't help but picture Will Ferrel and Ana Gasteyer doing their SNL routine. Thanks to that routine, I'll never be able to take folksingers seriously again.
As i was finishing my salad, and they introduced their fourth song in a row as "here's a little number about an Irish sailor, leaving the port of Liverpool", I wondered, "Are there any folk songs that aren't about Irish People?" I left after finishing my salad, because I probably would have started heckling them.

So, I visited one of the galleries nearby, dropped off a couple of my minis to the girl working there. (mini-comics. what an ice-breaker.) On the way home, I have to pass thru a little ghetto area, then thru a couple parks, a working class single-family home area, and then into my neighborhood, which is bigger workingclass, and smaller middle-class single family homes. I needed a drink, because it was a hot day, so I stopped at a little Bodega in the ghetto area. I got a Sprite Remix (i like this tropical flavor, I just wish they had a diet version) it was clearly marked $1.00, and our tax here is 6%.
The woman working the register, who was having a heated argument in Spanish in the back, came out and rang me up, and tried to charge me $1.09. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, figuring that her argument might have had her distracted, and said that I thought it should come to $1.06, she said yes $1.06 that's right, but she didn't clear the "$1.09" off the register. I gave her $1.06 and left, but it got me to thinking. This was the second time this week that somebody in a convenience store, somebody "of color" too, tried to overcharge me for items.

The other time was Sunday Night, at some gas station/convenience store in Central PA on the way home from New York. That guy was either Arab or Pakistani, and he rang me up for about 15 cents too much.

I'd like to think that this is just a set of coincidences, and that foreign-born operators of small groceries and convenience stores are not in the habit of ripping-off their customers. It does, however, reinforce the stereotype I see of them in the works of so many Black comedians.

It's one thing to mark up your products a bit more than they'd cost at a supermarket. There's nothing wrong with charging for a convenience, and if I pick up the item at that price and bring it to the counter, I agree that it's a fair price. But when your employees ring in items at a higher price than marked, that is a rip-off.

If this is the way they are with their regular customers in the hood , I can understand why they get targeted for robberies and looting so often.

They should just be glad that folks like me who object to the "Gringo Tax" aren't in the habit of rioting and looting.

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