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Kalina: In the United States, the customer is always wrong

Kalina: In the United States, the customer is always wrong

Everything is going to hell, but I feel good.

Because I wasn't the one who handed the car keys to the young man sitting at the hotel desk when we returned from a long, hot, dusty day in the San Diego border area. She was my sharp colleague Eva. I carefully observed how the man closed the rental car before we headed to the hotel rooms.

It becomes very important the next morning when it turns out that the key is missing.

The young man is at home and sleeping. His colleague growls bitterly and turns his back to us. The hotel manager comes out and states there are two stories – the staff says they never got the key and we say they did.

If we can't take the car, We would miss a scheduled interview in Phoenix, a five-hour drive from our hotel. We have no possibility to do this another day.

Readers will remember that I call myself Kalina to escape the Karen stereotype. One that assumes that there is a type of particularly aggressive middle-aged white woman who carries the English version of Karen as their collective name.

This is Karen's quintessential moment, but I take it in stride, grateful not to have to rely on my hazy memories of the parking lot.

I have spent over three years in the US where the customer is almost always wrong. I have faced this wall of denial many times. I've stopped getting angry, because I know what causes it.

Americans are afraid to make mistakes. Then they can be held accountable in an unreasonable manner. Thus, many react reflexively by questioning every complaint and contesting every request.

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We have to spend long hours In the hotel lobby waiting to recover. At the same time, the realization of wrongness sinks in.

First we get coffee. Then breakfast. Then water, lunch, an offer of future discounts, and a business card from the man manning the hotel desk at noon (“Call me directly, if you return to San Diego”).

Before we said goodbye, he confirmed that the young man who carelessly lost our key would not be allowed to work there again.

“Can't he get a second chance,” I say, Karen, horrified.

Read more cartoons about Kalina's adventures in the USA – eg “Say Aloha to Kalina!” or “I'll call my father and tell him. That's how it goes.”