If you ever watched the television show 24 at any time during its 8 seasons, you will be utmost aware of the perpetual “Copy that!” In walkie-talkie parlance it means you received the information, you are okaying it, you understand. My mind drifts at times. With each episode, 24 a season times 8 seasons resulting in 192 episodes during the life of the show, each time I heard “Copy that!” I imagined a photocopy machine kicking into action making a copy of the transmission. During the life of the show, “Copy That!” was used a total of 12 million, 4 thousand, 6 hundred and 28 times. What a mound of wasted copy paper that would be.
Yesterday, we made the momentous decision to buy a new television. Although our current television works perfectly fine, it is 7 years old, but again that is just a distraction and not the real reason for the purchase. Why is not important. It is the how that comes into play. We found an English speaking sales person. We made our decision and decided to purchase it then and there without further shopping around.
It needs to be delivered. It is too large to bring home on a tram, even if we are restricted to the space requirements of our entertainment center. We follow the salesman to the computer where he enters our data. He asks if we want a szamla or receipt for tax purposes. In Hungary, there is a specific receipt for taxes as opposed to general purchases. After saying we did, I provided all of the tax info. He handed me three sheets of identical papers to bring to the cashier to pay for our purchase.
The cashier looks over the papers, counts them, counts them a second and third time, but they are not magically multiplying. She tells us something in animated fashion, but the blank looks on our faces gave her the sense we were illiterate in Hungarian. She called the TV department. She needed 4 sheets of identical paper, not 3, so sent me back to get the 4th sheet.
When I found our salesman, he said the computer would only give 3 sets, not 4 so that must be all that was needed. He sent me back as he had the phone in his hand speaking to presumably the cashier informing her of the shortage of paper. When I return to the cashier, she makes it apparent she is not proceeding with this transaction, not even broaching the offered credit card like it has anthrax or some other biochemical warfare agent on it. She placed another call. A different salesman came and picked up the 3 sheets of paper while saying “I will be back!” in his best Schwarzenegger impression. After fifteen minutes, he finally returned, but in the meantime, my cashier lady closed her register and left.
Handing me the four sheets of paper, I now had to get in line again with a new cashier. Finally, it was my turn. The cashier looks that the 4 sheets of paper, counts them 3 times and looks up at me and asked if I wanted a szamla. IGEN!! IGEN!! IGEN!! YES! times 3, I want the damn receipt for taxes. Well, when the young man reprinted the papers, he did not include the information needed to make this a szamla, but just an ordinary receipt. Another call, another ten minutes and finally 4 sheets of paper with the correct information. I paid the bill, but after all of this, all I had to show for my troubles was only one sheet of paper.
To be continued…