My biggest Korean beef

I'm gonna b*tch here for a second, so be forewarned.
What is up with the pushy Korean salespeople?!  Arrrggh, they drive me insane.  They routinely follow me around the store, selecting items and waiting for my response.  They are like vultures waiting for the roadkill that is my inevitable purchase.  Even when there are a multitude of other customers, I am always singled out.  I know this because I've watched. Rarely do I see Koreans receiving the same kind of (unwanted) attention that I do.  On more than one occasion this afternoon (and every other time I've been out shopping) the ladies who were manning the outdoor stalls followed me in to watch me shop.  And not from a distance. Like literally standing right on top of me.

Now, I've had a relatively easy time dealing with all the cultural quirks associated with living in another country.  Sometimes they bother me, or I just don't understand the logic behind them, but alas, I'm not here to change things, merely to observe and enjoy.  And really, most of the differences aren't really all that bothersome, hence a total lack of blogging on the subject. However, this one gets to me.  I suppose it goes hand in hand with the whole personal space issue -- as in I need it and Koreans rarely want to give it to me.  Chalk it up to living in a HUGE country that does not rely on public transportation and whose living situations facilitate an abundance of personal space.  Or maybe I'm just weird.  Who knows?  Either way, I can usually only take so much time in the city in my free time before I am so overwhelmed that I head home where I can breathe (kinda.)

But maybe I'm being a little harsh here because I'm annoyed.  In all actuality, the women (and they are ALWAYS women) are sweet and helpful and more than ready to offer me a smile.  And who's to say that one person's "pushy" isn't another person's "attentiveness"?  Maybe I should be flattered that they pay attention to me at all.  I suppose they could just ignore me, because after all, I'm here (essentially) to exploit their private education system for my own financial gain. Hell, a LARGE portion of what I'm paid goes directly back to my home economy, not the Korean one.  They really could take one look at me and write me off as worthless foreigner. Americans do it all the time.

Maybe I just need to re-frame "pushy" and "overbearing" as "attentive" and enjoy the attention. Or I could learn to say "just browsing" in Korean. Hmmm...

1 comment:

~*~ amanda ~*~ said...

Google ate my post! The jist was: in Mexico, the salespeople touch your arm slightly, so your natural reflex is to turn toward them. I was walking down a narrow corridor with rival stores on either side, and the women were having an American-Arm-Poking-Duel on me. Ehhh, it was way more impressive the first time I wrote it.