One of the first thing I noticed in Korea is that at a lot of stores there aren’t always cashiers present at the front. Being born and raised in the US, this is strange because there is usually money in the register and it is considered good customer service to always be ready at alert to check out customers. However, I learned in Korea that this is not always so.
For the first year since I’ve come to Korea, I didn’t even realize there was a Korean phrase for calling a cashier when you were ready to check out. I just simply stood their and waited figuring someone would come to check eventually. I’m not saying that I ever had to wait a long time, however, knowing this simple little phrase has made things so much easier. The phrase is:
It is pronounced “gyae-san-ee-yo” in Korean, however it’s best to learn to read Hangul in order to make sure you are pronouncing it correctly. The meaning of this phrase is literally “calculate” but means “check me out” or “I want to pay” or “ring this up.” 계산 means calculation in Korean. In verb form 계산하다 is correct. Another word that uses 계산 is the Korean word for calculator which is 계산기.
I decided to start off the Bit of Korean series with this because the first thing most foreigners do when they touch down in Korea is attempt to eat. You can easily learn words like ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ or ‘thank you’ from a book, but for some reason, I’ve never seen this phrase written in any of my Korean books.
Whip this baby out the next time that kimbap cheonguk ajumma has disappeared from view and you will surely get checked out in a timely manner.
Hope you found this useful!