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The Spirit of Gift Giving

By: Editor at

I was witness to a very unhappy, but rather amusing exchange between a pair of customers and two cashiers at my favorite Chinese Bakery over the weekend. I go to this bakery once a week. My kids love their sweet buns and buttered bread for breakfast.

I walked into this well-known Chinese Bakery last Sunday morning. To my surprise, there was a line of people waiting by the two cashiers. There are usually no lines here, thanks to the two efficient cashiers who move customers really fast. I quickly noticed that both cashiers were being occupied by one customer. And none of them looked happy. It appeared that one of the cashiers was taking a bunch of individually wrapped mini moon cakes out of a cardboard box, and was conducting a recount, under close scrutiny of the other two, and all under the watchful eyes of the line of waiting customers holding their baked goods.

I bypassed the line, and headed toward the cash registers area. That’s where my sweet bread is located, so, it wasn’t entirely because I was being nosy.

“See, it’s all correct.” the cashier said to the customer, as she pointed to the LED display showing twenty some dollars. She won the recount.

The customer reminded silent, still taking in the shock that two handfuls of mini moon cakes could cost that much.

As a neutral spectator, I feel the customer was at fault. These individually wrapped mini moon cakes aren’t cheap. And the price tags are prominently displayed along with information on the fillings in these moon cakes. If she had just paid a little bit of attention, and went on to apply elementary math in her head, she would have known that ten or so of these tiny cakes can easily run her twenty plus dollars.

I wondered if she would just say no, and walk away.

As the two cashiers stared back at her, and a line of strangers looked in her proximity with deadly silent impatience, and maybe me lingering close by, she crumbled under the pressure, and went for her wallet.

Some people can’t hide their emotions well, and she was one of them. Her face only got darker and uglier. I was sure she would go home and complain about her innocent moon cakes all day.

“Why are these tiny moon cakes so expensive!” She decided to start the complaining right there and then.

Even though it was a question, her tone and volume indicated that it wasn’t a real question. It was a statement to reiterate her extreme displeasure with the bakery for selling such grossly over priced goods.

The cashier also understood that it wasn’t a question, and bluntly replied, “You will have to ask the boss.”

I was also buying a mini moon cake that day, so I had hoped to hear the cashier explaining the high price away with promise of premium quality, freshness, and maybe even hand-made goodness. Luckily, my motivation for buying a mini moon cake had little to do with its price. I just wanted one small moon cake to celebrate Mid-autumn Festival with.

“You will have to ask the boss” was not an acceptable answer to any paying customer. I was beginning to take the customer’s side.

The customer wisely decided to ignore the cashier this time, as she took her change, but then turned to her friend to continue her complaint.

Pointing to her box of just purchased moon cakes, “Look at this! When I give this gift, I will even look cheap!!”

She was buying these as a gift?!! I came to the realization that this lady is really not smart. I looked around the bakery. She should have simply picked out a pre-packaged gift box. They are cheaper and better looking in a beautiful sturdy tin box. And they looked very expensive.

Her mini moon cakes are individually wrapped, so the cashier placed the moon cakes in a small sized cardboard box. Her box of high priced Moon Cake was not impressive looking at all.

Her friend grabbed the receipt out of the hand of the cashier, and spoke for the first time.

“We will just tape this receipt on the box!” She exclaimed.


“Like this!” She placed the small white receipt squarely on top of the box with both of her hands to show off the newly-manufactured expensive effect.

HAAA….. HA, HA, HA…..
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