Two New York stories

One of the baffling contradictions of New York is that so much of its economy is service-based and yet service there is so desperately bad. You go to the drug store to get a candy bar and when you finish the transaction the cashier does not thank you, you thank the cashier. You thank the cashier because the cashier refrained from killing you. There will be three bodegas in a two-block stretch, which under normal circumstances would create an environment of healthy competition for customers, but the service in all of them will vary from casually listless to downright hostile.
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