Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Can I get you next time?"

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

Today I was in Promenade Market, the little liquor store on Wilshire and Malden, buying a can of iced tea. When I got to the cashier, I realized I only had a dollar in my wallet. The iced tea cost $1.10.

“Can I get you next time?” I asked.

“Sure,” the cashier said.

I gave him my dollar and walked out with an epiphany.

If I was in Wal-Mart or Ralphs and asked, “Can I get you next time?” they would look at me like I was crazy. So why was it okay at Promenade Market? Because I know the guys who work there, I am a loyal customer, and we trust each other.

This, I think, is the benefit of small, local businesses. Instead of seeing customers as faceless objects, like large corporate stores, they see customers as humans.

I don’t care that the prices are a little higher at Promenade Market. You can’t put a price on trust and community.

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This is Kami, who works at Promenade Market.

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