(点击收听全文)

您的浏览器不支持FLASH,无法播放语音,请点此下载并安装FLASH PLAYER


下载本文MP3

Lesson 21

                              Why Are They So Unlucky?

                                            Text A

    I wonder why so many shop-assistants are so foultempered? Inspite of so many "campaigns" to improve the services in the past years, we see no appreciable change so far. If Dad and Mum are to be believed, the services used to be quite good in the fifties. But then, they always say everything used to be good in the fifties. I find the older people grow, the more nostalgic they become. 

Now Granny never lets a day go by without remi-niscing on the good old things in the good old days . Once when she saw Xiao Hong and me eating some mooncakes with relish, she said pityingly, "You poor children, you don't know what real mooncakes taste like. The worst in the old tasted much better than the best that rnoney can buy nowadays!" We burst out laughing, not taking her words seriously.


    Now to come back to the bad service in shops and department stores. People often say that when you buy something, you are spending money to buy rudeness and anger. Today I saw a loing exactly that. I was at a department store and I happened to witness a typical quarrel. I was next to a counter selling tea and I saw an elderly man come up and ask a young woman was busy weighing and wrapping tea into standard-sized "packs "Do you have very good green tea?"


    The woman glanced up to size him up. He was ordinarily dressed and spoke with a provincial accent. obviously a man of no consequence. She went on with her work and the man had to repeat his question. After another pause the woman snorted out: "Yes: Twenty-six yuan a liang. " Not believing his ears, the man tried to correct her. "You mean twenty-six yuaw a jin?" Upon this the woman flared up and shouted: "I said twenty-six yuan a LIANG ! Can't you hear straight? If you want a jin, then it's two hundred and sixty yuan. Is that CLEAR?"


    The man seemed to be stunried by her sudden outburst but he kept his temper and asked again. "Do you have some thing under two yuan' a Liang?" Obviously she was makinj things difficult for the old man for she answered as rudely as be fore;"What do you mean under two yuan? Anything from on cent to one yuan ninety-nine cents is under two yuan. " I don't remember what exaetly the man said , but somehow he manage to find out there was a kind costing one yuan ninety-six a liang "Can you show it to me?"


    "Do you want to buy it or not?"
    "Well, I want to look at the leaves and smell the flavoc first. " "You can look , smell , eat , drink or do whatever you like with it at home. Here I only sell tea. If you want to buy it, buy it. If you can't afford it, don't come here to waste people's time Obviously you don't know what is proper in Beijing ! "


    "Look here young lady, it's you who don't know what proper! I have been living in Beijing long before you were born, and I've never seen anyone as rude as you are. Your job is to serve the customers , not to insult them. Now for the last time are you going to show me the tea or not?"
    "And for the last time I am telling it to you. Either buy it or get out of here! I know the likes of you-you want something good, and yet grudge the money you have to spend on it!"


    "This is insufferable 1 Who is in charge here? I want to see your head ! " "My head? It's on my shoulders. Take a good look if you want to. "
    The old man went away fuming. "I've got down your number ber. I'll write to the Evening News. " The threat didn't seem to frighten the girl. At most she'll have to make a self-criticism, which costs her nothing. Even if she should lose a month's bonus, it is only a few yuan. But if she could be sacked, I bet she wouldn't dare to be so rude and aggressive.


                                            Text B

    All the housewives who went to the new supermarket had one great ambition: to be the lucky customer who did not have to pay for her shopping. For this was what the notice just inside the entrance promised. It said; "Remember, once a week, one of our customers gets free goods. This may be your lucky day ! "


    For several weeks Mrs Edwards hoped , like many of her friends, to be the lucky customer. Unlike her friends, she never gave up hope. The cupboards in her kitchen were full of things which she did not need. In vain her husband tried to dissuade suade her. She dreamed of the day when the manager of the supermarket
would approach her and say:"Madam, this is your lucky day. Everything in your basket is free. "


    One Friday morning, after she had finished her shopping and had taken it to her car, she found that she had forgotten to buy any tea. She dashed back to the supermarket, got the tea
and went towards the cashdesk. As she did so, she saw the manager of the supermarket approaeh her. "Madam" , he said, holding out his handzs, "I want to congratutate you! You are our lucky customer and everything you have in your hasket is free!"

                                Additional Information

    Three times a man in his early 30s approached Shen Limin's clothes counter in the Baihua Garment Store on busy Xidan Street in central Beijing.
    The first time Shen showed him the various garments. He left but returned a while later and stood there staring at a skirt. Then he went away again, but came back after a few minutes.


    Curious, Shen asked, "Why don't you buy that skir since you love it so much?"
    The man said that he really wanted to, but the 198-yuan price was too much for him. She suggested that he choose something cheaper, but he replied that the skirt was what his wife would like most.


    They started talking and he told her he bought his wife a gift every year in celebration of their wedding anniversary. Shen was so moved that she offered the skirt to him for 130 yuan, the wholesale price.
    When the man hesitated in surprise, she told h'sm, "I do that simply because
you are a good husband. "


    As a divorcee, Shen, 35, spoke from the depths of her heart.
    She could not imagine any husband being so considerate or tender.
    Her failure in marriage and her divorce three years ago scared her away men and prompted her to resign from her job as a log keeper in a film studio and become a self-employed garment seller.
    What makes Shen unusual is that she make money to help deserted ids.
    Her love of children and her sympathy for the wretched stemmed fiom the day her six-year-old younger brother was crushed to death in a mishap in a warehouse near her home.


    Her sympathetic nature kept her marriage together for seven years.
    Her husband had been a clarinet player in an army band. A go-between had introduced them. One cold snowy night they deeided to get married. He had been walking her home and kept darting into shops. She grew impatient thinking he was merely wanting to buy cigarettes and she stomped off. But he ran after her and presented her with a gauze mask he had bought. for her to help keep out the cold.


    His thoughtfulness moved her to tears. He said that perhaps they should break up since she cotild not understand him. "I will marry you if that can atone for my mistake," Shen said she responded. And so the matter was sealed.
The death of a bosom fiiend seven years later marked the beginning of the end for Shen and her husband.


    As the friend lay dying of heart disease. 20 days after giving birth to a son-a pregnancy she had risked because her husband was the only son of hi, family-she asked Shen to care for the child.
    Shen promised she would, even though she had a son of her own. Her husband was strongly opposed, however. Still. Shen would often go to see the child, who was living in his grandmother's home.


    "I felt guilty when I saw the child wearing dirty clothes," Shen said." I thought the child would not have been like that had his mother been alive. "
    When the grandparents decided to send the boy to friends in Tianjin, Shen wanted to adopt him. Her husband then moved out and said he wanted a divorce.
    Shen went to Tianjin to look for the child and found him. But the family refused to give the boy up. Shen would not leave until she was convinced the child was being kindly treated and properly cared for.


    Her years of marriage had given Shen a comfortable life-style but that was all, she said. The divorce made her realize'she had feelings and ambitions again.
    Shen had once dreamed of becoming a film actress, and tried out for roles but only ended up with bit parts. She fared better on the stage with amateur troupes. But her dreams were shattered when she was refused admission to a professional art school because of her age. She was too old to learn how to act , she was told.


    New dreams filled the void of her disappiontment. She turned to helping children. She wrote to the SOS Village in Tianjin, a home for orphaned children, applying for a job as a nurse. But she was turned down because she had a son.
    She still wanted to help children but did not know how. Finding a way to make money became a practical and urgent problem. Eerly last year she started her own business as a clothing dealer, setting up a stall in west Beiing.


    Her mother did not like the idea and felt it would be bad fos.her grandson to be brought up in such an environment. She threatened to smash the stall, but gradually Shen won her over.
    "I don't want my son to follow my example," she said. " expect a lot of him. "
    She still maintains contact with her friend's son in Tianjin.


    She moved to Xidan this summer when the new Baihua Garment store pened. She now has two assistants , one of them a university graduate.
    Shen said that her business life has made her a different woman, one vho is independent and full of confidence. Friends try to get her to date but she is not interested.
    At first, she said, her distaste of marriage or love affairs was so strong that she cut her hair short and wore men's clothes.


    "I am afraid of falling in love." Shen said with a bitter smile.
    She daubts whether she eauld be a good wife , saying she woutd better as a friend or companion.
    Many of her customers have become friends. To one frequent calkr, she is Sister Shen.
    "I really love my customers," Shen said. "I do my business for the sake
of love. "