What I Hate Most About Prague
After having had almost nine months plus past visits to come up with complaints, I conclude that the thing that REALLY GETS ON MY NERVES is the way that shoplifter-deterrent systems here target me.
I am sure most of my readers have encountered stores that have some sort of electronic gateway guarding the door. Such systems are also common in libraries.
I have not got the faintest idea what sets off these devices. I have never yet set one off in a library without cause (ie, the librarian has not desensitized the book or videotape). No library in Prague rings an alarm when I walk out. On the other hand, it is almost impossible for me to leave a store (and sometimes to enter one) without setting off the bloody things. It even happens in supermarkets from time to time.
This prompts a lengthy and tiresome procedure wherein the security guard has me walk through again to make sure that he heard the alarm correctly. Having verified that I set off the alarm, he then passes my various items through separately. Usually no individual item sets off the alarm, but only the full collection. Sometimes my wallet is enough to set off the alarm, causing guards to speculate that my credit card is at fault. Occasionally my laptop is blamed. No one has ever verified the true cause, especially as sometimes I am carrying almost nothing.
This sort of thing does happen to me now and then in the US, but rarely. Here, I would say it tends to be about three times out of four, which is a strong disincentive to go into any store with an alarm gate. It is most likely to happen at Bonton, at Datart, and at clothing stores. I seldom go into Bonton or Datart without buying something, so it at least I have a purchase and receipt to show, but one could say that I have now had aversion training against looking at clothing.
Well, considering that the weather was only warm for a week or two, I didn’t need to worry that I had to find warm-weather clothes after all. Those turtlenecks and heavy sweaters that served me throughout the winter are apparently going to be my standard gear until I leave. When I give a conference paper at the end of the month, my black wool suit will evidently be just fine so long as I pair it with long underwear. After all, public buildings have turned off the heat by now, so one must wear much more clothing than when it was snowing.