Don’t go to Morning Glory Bloor St.

I have come a long way since my Morning Glory stationery days. However, I passed by Morning Glory in Koreatown Bloor Street (Not Koreatown North) yesterday, and I just couldn’t resist checking it out for old time’s sake.

My tastes in pens and pencils have long since elevated beyond anything Morning Glory could offer, but it was nice to take a look at what had changed, what hadn’t, and even testing out how their products no longer excited me.

The lady in the store recognized me, or pretended to recognize me (more likely the latter because I went very rarely even back in the day), and said that she hadn’t seen me in a long, long time. I was the only person in the store, and I felt bad to leave without buying anything, so I earnestly looked for something worthy of my cash. After all, most of the things in the store cost less than $5, so I could buy something without breaking the bank.

I actually found some good buys: refills for my Filofax diary. Filofax-brand refills cost an arm and a leg. The week-on-one-page calendar is $11, and the month-on-two-pages is $6. Even Daytimer for Dayrunner brand is pretty expensive. I found some un-dated monthly and weekly refills for less than $2 each, so I bought one of each.

I went to the counter to pay for my items, and the lady began to type my order into a calculator. My memory of shopping there several years ago came rushing back to me.  But before I go on to tell you what happened, a little bit of context must preface.

It is very common practice for Korean vendors dealing with Korean clients to complete their transactions under the table, or without a cash register.  This results in lower business revenue, which results in lower business taxes.  Since gst and pst are passed through the vendor straight to the government, under-the-table transactions don’t include sales tax.  Some high-quality people resist this temptation and report all of their earnings.  Although I dislike this part of Korean-Canadian culture, I’m sure I could find a historical context of why this is more of a historical residual than anything.  For now, I look down on the people who do this.

When I went to Bloor Street Morning Glory 3 or 4 years ago, the lady did the same thing.  She typed my purchase into a calculator, and I understood that she was going to perform a cash transaction.  Then I saw her type in:

* 1.15 =


She charged me tax when clearly she was not going to state the revenue.  She was essentially ripping me off 15%.  I was dumbfounded, but too confused and poor with the language to say anything, and I vowed never to shop there again.  Somehow, over the past few years, I had forgotten what a witch she was.

As she typed my order into her calculator, I realized what she was doing, and hoped against hope that she would just charge me the sticker price on my items.  I was ready to ask for a receipt to force her to enter the sale into her register, and I saw her type in *1.13.  She was on the phone with her friend the whole time, not allowing me to get a word in.  Then she gave me a large discount, and said so, as if she was doing me a favour.

How could I have been so stupid?  As much as I would like to condemn the lady for not changing her behaviour in 4 years, I was equally to blame as I could not set her right the second time around.  Shame on me.

Conversely, the Morning Glory at Koreantown North is very good with the receipts and taxes.  I once was even accidentally charged twice on my credit card, and they fixed it.

As much as I seem like a hypocrite in this post, to be fair to myself, I must note that I have asked for receipts in the past and have experienced a price hike through the process.  It’s not because I believe in taxes so much.  It’s because I would like to see the reputation of Koreans improve a little over my life time.

Don’t shop at Morning Glory Bloor St.


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