Beat the Snow Maiden!

by Don  

I was in an office supply store last summer to buy some paper for my printer. I looked over the various types and told the salesclerk that I wanted a packet of paper. She responded by asking how much I wanted. It took me by surprise. A packet is a packet, right? It turns out that this office supply store was right next to the architectural university, and its most constant clients are students who generally can't afford to buy an entire package of paper, so they buy a hundred or two hundred grams of paper. Heck, the paper had to last me all summer, so I told the clerk I wanted an entire ream, and she shouted to the cashier:

Танечка, выбей Снегурочку! Tanya, beat the Snow Maiden!

I was much amused. If you doubt the accuracy of my initial interpretation, take a look at what I got when I ran the same phrase through Google Translate:

Now this was summer time in Russia, so there was no snow on the ground, thus the thoughtful reader might expect that despite the omniscience of Google, the translation might somehow be lacking. The thoughtful reader would be correct. The brand of paper I was purchasing was named Снегурочка. The verb выбивать/выбить in addition to meaning ‘to beat’ also means ‘to print symbols on a cashier’s recipt.’ In other words, the clerk was saying, “Tanya, print out a receipt with one packet of Snegurochka paper on it.”

The cashier did so. I carried the receipt the two meters from the cashier to the clerk. The clerk took the receipt, made a small tear in it to show that it should not be used again, and then she gave me an entire ream of Snegurochka paper.


Comment from: Alexy [Visitor]

Of course she said “выбить". It is very common at old shops where still exist cashiers.

04/05/12 @ 04:39
Comment from: Shady_arc [Visitor]

Hm, I am more used to “пробить” in that sense, though dictionary says “выбить” is also the word. “Пробить", probably is linked to the idea of “printing symbols from beginning to the end; letting it through".

10. *Разг. Отпечатать на ленте кассового аппарата стоимость покупки; оплатив, получить кассовый чек с указанием стоимости.===
Now that I think of it, it may be logical… after all, the stores let the goods “out", so using “вы + бить” makes some sense, too. “stamping symbols instantaneously, at once” also works (I think, it’s the primary meaning)
Still, where I live “выбить” is usually for stamping some solid materials (metal/coin etc.), smashing glass ("beating it out of its frame"). Even more often used for beating the dust out of carpets, furniture, pillows… Are you sure it’s the word you heard?

Don responds: To the best of my memory she said выбей. I noted it because it was so unexpected for me.

03/05/12 @ 06:05

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