Thursday, December 6, 2007

Prague Peculiarities

Hi Everyone,

It's been a month since I last updated! I can't let that happen again! I've had a couple of funny adventures since my last update. I want to call this Prague Peculiarities...and will add to these from time-to-time!

One day, I was doing some shopping near Dejvicka, which is a main square not far from where we live, in Prague 6. The square offers many different shops--everything from groceries, to clothing, to KFC! This is where we shop for our groceries--at the once Delvita that is now Billa. I was at Billa to pick up a couple of of which was some credit for my pre-paid cell phone. The new credit comes in the form of a card you buy...I had seen these on an earlier trip to Billa, but had not looked to see how they worked. Well, I assumed (never makes an ass of u and me!) that the cards work like they do in the US. In the US, you buy a refill card, scratch off that silver stuff on the back to reveal a code, call an 800 number and type the code into your phone and that's it! Of course, it couldn't be that easy here! I proceeded to the checkout to pay for my purchases. The cashier was scanning everything, and when she got to the phone card, she said something to me. I didn't understand her, and so said I didn't speak Czech. Well, that was a problem! But there was a younger woman behind me who did speak very good English, so she began translating for the cashier and I.

This younger woman told me that the cashier wanted my phone number. She didn't explain why, and so this put me on guard. You never give out your number to anyone! That's just basic common sense. I had no idea what they wanted the number for...I thought it was because I was going to pay with my debit card from my American bank! So, I told them I didn't have a phone! They were shocked and not believing don't have a phone?!! Well, this is true...we don't have a land-line phone here--it's very expensive, so my husband and I rely on our cell phones. So, I was telling the truth! They were not believing that. I didn't understand why they were not believing that! Now, in hindsight, I understand they were wondering why in the world I was buying refill credit for a cell phone if I didn't have a phone. At the time, it was not explained to me that I needed to give the cashier my cell phone number! The cashier said I would have to input some phone number into the little computer that is located where you check out...similar to the computers they have at the checkouts at home. I tried typing in my husband's cell phone number. The little computer did not like that. I didn't know what to do, so asked if I could input my number from the US. The ladies were aghast at how stupid I was! No...that would not work! OK. I said I had one more number I could try...still not realizing why they needed a phone number!

Well, it finally dawned on me that they needed my phone number for the refill card that I was trying to buy for my cell phone! I still didn't understand why that was. So, I typed in my cell phone number, after telling them I didn't have a phone...and the computer didn't like it. So, I had to try one more now, there were several people in line behind us, and they were waiting and wondering what was taking so long. The younger woman who was translating was becoming a little annoyed with me, too.

I went ahead and typed in my cell phone number one more time, and low and behold, the little computer liked it this time! The cashier was relieved...and so was the younger woman, things were moving forward! I paid and was getting ready to take the receipt for my purchases, when my cell phone went "ta-dah!!!! It does this to notify me that a new text message has come in. I keep the cell phone in a pouch around my neck, under my coat, to keep it safe from pickpockets. So, it was very noticable when it went "ta-dah"!!!! They both looked at me...and shook their heads and rolled their eyes...I know they were thinking, "What a stupid foreigner...she said she didn't have a phone!!!"

My face turned a very bright red, and I hurriedly grabbed my things and left!!! I learned more from this trip than I have in a while, so that is a good thing...and next time, I will surely know how to purchase refill credit for my phone...and why they want the phone number!!!!!! Instead of refilling the credit as it is done in the US, here, the cashier is the one who activates the new credit for your phone!!! And I learned never to assume anything anywhere, or I will make an ass of u and me!!!!

That's all for all have a great day!

God bless,

Sherry :0)

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