The scene opens on the exterior of Maraczek’s parfumerie on a lovely summer morning sometime in the 1930s. Ladislaw Sipos enters reading the paper. Teenage Arpad Laszlos joins him on his delivery bicycle, merrily extolling the loveliness of the day and trying very hard to be the most enthusiastic delivery boy in town.
As the two men converse over how stylish and dignified it is to work at Maraczek’s, Ilona Ritter enters. She is a sultry store clerk who also works at the parfumerie and is in particularly good spirits at the start of this particular day. Arpad tells Sipos that she always sleeps at Kodaly’s (another store clerk’s) place, but walks around the corner instead of arriving with him at the shop to avoid speculation.
Shortly after, Kodaly enters and surreptitiously flirts with Ilona. Next on the scene is Georg Nowack, a quiet and intelligent store clerk who dreamily suggests that they all take the day off and have a picnic. They entertain the idea for a moment
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