As a teenage United States citizen in London, I was expecting to make a mistake sometime in my “holiday” overseas. Of course, as if through my own self-fulfilling prophesy, I did. My family and I were in the rather large department store known worldwide as Harrods. We were, of course, there just to look since everything there was “name brand” and way overpriced. We saw table soccer tables that were encrusted with diamonds and four-poster beds for dogs (I finally found out where celebrity dogs get their decor for their mansions). Almost anything could be bought there and even the people who hate shopping the most could spend hours just looking around in awe at all of the completely unnecessary-for-daily-life objects.
Just like all of the other awe-struck tourists, we traveled up the gold plated “lifts” to who knows where and got lost as a result of the multiple sets of escalators. Somehow, we ended up staying in the store for long enough to feel the urge to use the washroom. Of course, we had to navigate our way through the endless labyrinth of hallways and departments in order to locate a washroom first. We went through the sports department twice, the electronics department three times, and the furniture department twice in search of there ever-elusive washrooms that the signs said were in “this direction.”
Eventually, we found a women’s room by seeing a tiny sign. There my mother and I separated from my father and brother, leaving them to continue their search for the men’s restroom. To my utter confusion there was an actual bathroom attendant standing there watching you as you entered the stall (I had never been to anywhere that had ever had a bathroom attendant). When I reemerged and washed my hands, my mother asked me to tip the attendant since I had the coins and that is, apparently, what you do.
Needless to say, I had no idea what the average tip rate was and made a rather stupid move. I looked down and saw the “suggested” tip of £1. So, without really thinking, I gave her £2, since I was tipping for both my mother and myself. The attendant, very happy that I gave her so much, then insisted on squirting a large dollop of lotion on my hands and bathing me in Chanel no 5 perfume. She literally sprayed every part of my torso and wouldn’t let me say no. Needless to say, I walked out of the bathroom and through the rest of Harrods with a scent trail that could be smelled miles away. It was so bad that, getting a headache, I had to take off my jacket and stuff it in a bag and wound up wearing my father’s jacket for the rest of the day. I learned my lesson though, never tip the bathroom attendants too much when they have a bottle of perfume ready and waiting.
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