“Put that fish down!” a cashier shouted in Chinese at a poorly dressed old woman.

“One fish per customer!” the cashier walked in front of the buffet spread and pointed at a sign. The sign proclaimed this fish tray to be a new item, and special enough that you could only have one piece per customer.

The old woman dropped the fish back into its tray without looking up, and moved on to unrestricted dishes.

“Too much food for your box!! Next time don’t take so much.” the cashier yelled at the same old woman for over filling her container.

The old woman avoided eye contact again, paid with cash and walked away.

Every Monday, I go shopping at a big Chinese grocery store around lunch time, and would pick up a to go lunch at the grocery store’s hot deli.

Every time I see this thinly built tall cashier at the register, my heart would sink a little. She does not just take customers’ money like the rest of the cashiers. She makes it her business to police the amount of food people pile onto their to go boxes.

I pushed my tray in front of her cash register, and knew what was to come…

“You can get more food!” she barked.

Isn’t she awfully bossy!!

“You should go back and add more food.” bossy cashier, “Ah, you didn’t get the special fish. That’s good fish.”

“Oh, thank you. This is all I could eat.” me. I kept it to myself that I thought the new fish looked rather dry and unappetizing.

“Next time, you get the paper box. You can put all your food into our paper box, and I will be charging you half the price.” she instructed me helpfully.

The prices are clearly labeled on the different sized to go boxes. Only the large box has a flat bed with different sections, so I could somewhat separate the different items.

The rest of their to go boxes are tall rectangular shaped, which meant that with the different foods, all the flavors will blend into each other. I am of the opinion that even clumsily made food deserves some shred of dignity.

I faced her again this past Monday. I felt her watching me.

As I gathered the food, I was telling myself the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story in my head…

So I picked up more food than I could eat, plus one new fish onto my tray.

It was just right for her.

Previous related blog:
The Spirit of Gift Giving
Mother’s Day Madness
Kotofuku V
Note to self: need better friends…

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