Thursday, August 7, 2014

Someone Has Soiled the Air

Today I had a real Berlin moment. I was standing in the grocery checkout line at my local Kaisers behind two men who really smelled bad. Their odor permeated the entire checkout area, and I could see other people in the line wince from the stench. The guys bought two bottles of cheap vodka and paid with small coins, which took the distressed cashier minutes to count. When they finally left, the cashier reached under the register and whipped out a can of air freshener. "May I spray?" she asked me (in German, of course). I signaled my approval and thanked her! She sprayed and waved her hands about. The other customers smiled with relief.

Apparently this is not an uncommon experience. There are a lot of alcoholics and homeless people who camp out in the area, and I frequently see them buying alcohol and cigarettes. (Unfortunately, soap is never on their shopping list.) The cashiers must experience this regularly, to have air deodorizer so readily available. 

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