Yesterday, when going to the Palace Theater at Stamford, Connecticut, USA, to watch Shen Yun, I encountered two minor "surprises", which reminded me of two of my "unbeatable deficiencies" years ago, and also made me realize one of the reasons why I should live in the US.
The first minor surprise happened at the box office, when I went there to pick my ticket booked online. The young lady inside the window asked me, "What is your last name?" I said, "Zeng."
While she was trying to find my ticket in a pile of envelopes, I was trying to locate the ticket receipt in my cell phone in case she asked me to show it to her before she would give me the ticket.
But before I had time to locate and open the receipt, she had already found the right envelope with my name on it. She showed me the envelope and asked, "Is this yours?"
After I said "Yes", she happily handed me the envelope and wished me good luck; and I walked away with my ticket without showing her anything to prove that this ticket belonged to me. I was a little bit surprised; and thought to myself, "It must be that I look like a good person."
The second surprise happened at the parking lot. I arrived at the theater two hours before the show time. So I "leisurely" parked my car at the Stamford Town Center just opposite the theatre. I found that there was a number at each parking space, with "remember your space number" underneath as a kind reminder. I immediately took a photo of the number with my phone, in case I got lost in such a terribly huge parking structure. As far as I could see, there are at least 10 levels with thousands of parking spaces in it.
我把車停到劇場對面大得嚇人的斯坦福城市中心（Stamford Town Center）的停車場中，據我目測，這個至少得有十層的停車場中，少說也得有幾千個停車位吧？我也是在這裏第一次發現每個停車位上都有一個號碼牌，上面貼心地寫著「請記住你的停車位號碼」，怕的就是你回來時找不到車了。
Then I paid for 4 hours' parking fee ($1 per hour by the way) at the pay station, as I assumed that I would need 4 hours. After the receipt came out, I carefully read it to see if I was required to display the receipt at the front window of my car to show that I had paid, and found that none of this was mentioned. So I put the receipt in my wallet and walked away.
After I watched the show (extremely wonderful by the way), I walked back to the terrifyingly huge parking structure. Just as I had feared, I did get lost. I went to the wrong section first; and then to the wrong level. Even if I knew my number, it could only help me to see that I had been to the wrong place, without showing me where the right spot was.
So after more than 30 minutes' struggle, I finally found my car. I knew because of the delay, I must have exceeded my paid parking time. I thought to myself, "Maybe I can pay it later at the exit if my receipt couldn't get through because of the insufficient payment."
I thought they must have recorded my arrival time and my payment amount in their system.
So I drove out; and was very surprised to find that there wasn't any machine at the exit to check my receipt whatsoever, or anything to prevent me from driving out.
So, in this car park structure, they just trust that everyone will pay their correct fees out of their own goodwill?
These two surprises in one night made me think about my two very "stubborn" "shortcomings" back in China. One was that after buying something, I could never remember to check whether the cash change given back to me was the correct amount. Those days in China we only used cash when buying things. Bank cards, credit cards or phone payment didn't exist.
Whenever my family and friends saw that I didn't check the change, they always scolded me, saying that I would be taken advantage of if I wasn't careful enough. But no matter how many times they scolded me, I just couldn't remember. Perhaps deep down in my mind, I had a "blind" and very "stubborn" belief: it was the salespersons' responsibility to count the money, and make sure that the right change was given to their customers. Why should this responsibility be shifted to me?
After I started to work, the salary was also paid as cash notes. The pay clerk at my workplace always required me to count the notes and make sure the amount was correct. At this stage I found no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it. I always forgot the numbers and got confused before I could finish counting. In the end, I had to pretend to be counting and always told the clerk that the amount was exactly right, so that she could allow me to sign and take away my salary.
This is a secret that I never shared with anyone before.
Another "shortcoming" of me was that I could never remember to check the status of an item I bought. In China, this could bring big trouble, for if you found quality problems only after you went home, the salespersons usually wouldn't allow you to return the item, as it was very hard to prove that you didn't damage it yourself after you bought it.
I remember once I bought a skirt without checking it. I only found that there was a very long "crack" at the back when trying to put it on later. My family was again very furious because of this.
The deeply rooted "foundation" for this shortcoming of mine was also this: To ensure the quality of the items was the responsibility of the producers and people who sold them. Why should this responsibility be shifted to me?