This morning, we drove into a small town called Dunmore East, where I immediately spotted a bakery. B had availed himself of leftovers for breakfast, but I was ravenous. I carefully examined each item in each display, since this was clearly not a decision to be taken lightly.
As I was making up my mind, I made a comment I’ve made countless times in cafes, locally-owned stores, and anywhere else with a vast selection and some sense of ownership on the part of the person behind the counter. I said to the lady, ‘They look so good. I’d like them all.’ Now, in US stores, the reaction is usually a laugh and the occasional excitement at the prospect of a hefty sale. However, here, the woman’s response was much simpler: she promptly replied, ‘No.’
I was caught off-guard. My well-intentioned comment was rebuffed. Was she making a comment on my size? (Somewhat strange, since she was slightly bigger than me.) Did she not want to run out of merchandise? Was she inferring our financial situation from the sad state of my scuffed shoes?
In the end, I think she was demonstrating the European philosophy: limits are good, gluttony is fine in moderation, and some things really aren’t for sale. Or at least that’s the explanation I’m going with.