We went down the street from my son’s house to shop at the new Syrian refugee just-opened corner store. They sell Middle Eastern food stuff. I know nothing about Middle Eastern food save for donairs, falafels, hummus and pita. When we entered, we were greeted by a small, mature-faced young kid. Muhammad was only 11. “Can I help you find anything, sir?”
“I know nothing about Syrian food, Muhammad. Sell me something you think is absolutely Syrian and, of course, absolutely delicious. I am OK with whatever your favourite thing is.”
“I highly recommend this spice, sir. On chicken. You make it into a thick sauce and rub it all over the chicken and then fry it. It’s the best. My favourite.”
For the next five minutes or so Muhammad led me around the store giving me his recommendations and, of course, I bought them all. I will even be making falafel soon. But far and away, Muhammad promoted and sold the spices. Muhammad was INTO the spices. He also sold me a falafel maker and tried to sell me a can of Truffles. “Sir, I advise you to consider this can of desert truffles. They are rare. They are only picked in the desert and this batch are the last truffles picked before the war. There are no more. Not now.”
I laughed out loud but declined. That kind of rare desert truffle seemed way too fantastic and sounded like a used-car salesman talking. Still, very fun. This kid was GOOD at selling and even had a ‘story’ for the most expensive item in his store, a can of mushrooms.
*For the record: I looked it up. Muhammad was telling the straight truth about the truffles. Seems they are wild-harvested at a certain time and found only in the dessert. The Syrian war ended that practice and there are no more for sale for the foreseeable future. I am gonna go back and buy a can.
As we were finishing up, his dad came back into the store. I complemented him on raising such a smart kid and suggested that he will either become a lawyer, a doctor or the world’s best used car salesman. Dad smiled sadly and said, “I hope so.” But, when dad came home, Muhammad went out to play on his bike in the back parking lot. He couldn’t go too far. Customers might show up and he was clearly the draw for the store.
I dunno, Bubba, but I like Muhammad. I might even like the dad. I am glad they are here….mostly for Muhammad’s sake……and I will taste the chicken before a full five star endorsement. Can’t be too careful, ya know?