“Could you send me an email or text that?” I asked.
“Hold on,” he said.
30 seconds later he was back with the list on real paper. Touched by the old-fashionedness of it all but worried I'd lose it, I biked into town.
I didn't lose the list. I got everything on it and more. As I was contemplating how I was going to manage three bags of goods on a bike, I realized I didn't have my credit card.
This is never a good feeling.
It's even worse when this problem must be faced in an unfamiliar place.
The good news was that it was still light out. I kept reminding myself of this.
I emptied my three bags on the cement near the bike rack. No Card. I repacked it all and headed back in the building, down the escalator, while rehearsing in my head, “Haben sie mein Kreditkarte?
Sadly, even though I had bought my groceries less than ten minutes earlier, the cashier that checked me out was gone--his lane closed.
I hovered near the other cashier. A few minutes go by. She finally glances my way:
“Hallo! Sprechen Sie Englisch?” (pitiful smile)
“Verkäufer…(points to abandoned lane) Er hat mein Kreditkarte?” (makes the international symbol for telephone) “Could you call him?
She nods, talks, and continues to work the register remarkably quickly. German grocery cashiers are amazing.
Only a minute passes, and I see my handsome cashier walk confidently toward his former post. He looks at me reassuringly, opens a drawer, and hands me my Visa.
I'm so relieved and grateful. I feel like this emotion could not be expressed with a foreign “danke schön.” I give him my most appreciative girl from south-central Nebraska face and say, “Thank you so much.”