lotte after dark

Some weeks ago, I was in the fancy silverware section of the Lotte department store. I was looking at forks when the clock struck 9. I was admiring a thick fork with plain features when I perceived a slight change of mood in my periphery. A midnight-is-upon-us bell began ringing through the PA system. The ringing of the clockbell was followed by a scratchy version of the So Long Farewell song from the Sound of Music. I looked up from the forks and noticed that the saleswoman near me had assumed a military posture. Her eyes were fixed ahead and she stood at attention. I dropped the fork and made for the escalator. I looked around and realized everybody on the floor stood at attention as if a great leader was about to goose-step down the main aisle. I hurried to the escalator feeling I was in midst of an ancient secret ceremony. Everybody I passed was snapped to attention. When the song ended, the salespeople all bowed in unison.