This evening, I was at Takashimaya boots-hunting for my bestie’s upcoming wedding.
Chanced upon this lovely pair of boots from Hush Puppies, tried it on and fell in love with it instantly. As I paraded in front of the mirror and admiring them, I was soon painfully aware of something sharp digging into my ankles from both sides.
I remove the boots and felt around – and noticed that the knotted thread edges were sticking out of the fabric and pointing inwards. It wasn’t your usual soft thread as well. It was stiff and felt plasticky. My enthusiasm for the boots fizzled somewhat.
So I asked to try another pair, and the salesperson happily obliged. (I guess she could tell I really loved the boots.)
Unfortunately, the second pair was much worse. It felt like I was wearing a prickly hedgehog around my ankles.
The salesperson overheard my gripes and tried to help. She said she’d do something about it, took the boots aside and did something with them while I waited. Later on, she returned with the boots. To my delight, they no longer hurt.
“What did you do with them?” I asked her.
“Ooh, I cut off all the threads! So they won’t be poking you anymore!” was her reply.
All the blood drained from my face.
“WHAT?!” I exclaimed. I picked up a boot and looked closely at it. The knots were all gone. I gingerly tapped on the fabric. Just as I expected, part of the fabric fell apart. Now, I no longer had a prickly knots problem, but a loose thread problem. And not just one loose thread. Plenty of them.
“Um, I think you shouldn’t have done that. Because now the threads are loose!” I pointed out to her.
“No, the design is like that one (sic)!” The salesperson responded, as she began doing the same with the second pair of boots I tried.
“Uhh,” I tried to stop her, but it was too late.
Snip, snip, snip! went her clippers and all the knots fell off.
Now, I had two defective pair of boots on my hands. They were pretty pricey too, at $159. And surely, I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money on a pair of boots with the fabric falling apart. (At least with the prickly knots, I could have filed them down or applied some kind of coating. :()
I sighed. The salesperson was still looking at me expectantly.
My dad who was shopping with me, caught on the situation and asked. “Do you have another pair?”
The salesperson looked slightly put off.
“No, we only have two pairs of each size. If you’re still not happy with the boots, you can go to another outlet,” she replied, frowning slightly.
I hesitated. Part of me felt rather bad because she had assisted us a lot. But well, her “help” had led to a much worse outcome – two damaged pair of boots. :(
Eventually, I decided to pass on them. I handed the boots back to her, thanking her twice.
She simply took the boots from me, shoved them back into the box and slammed the lid back on. Obviously, she was pissed.
Well, as a consumer, I do have the right to choose what I want to pay for, and to receive defect-free goods, especially when they are priced highly.
But still, I felt guilty and a little sorry for her.
My grandmother’s sudden death two weeks ago (more on that later) seems to have brought the cousins and I closer together, which is the ‘brighter’ side of the whole situation. Although of course, I do wish she’s still around with us.
We went on our first gathering yesterday evening. Honestly a memorable one, and I’m confident there’ll be more to come. These are the people I grew up with. We’ve known each other since we were little runts, subsequently brats, then snotty teenagers and now grown-ups with our own hopes and dreams. On top of that, a shared identity, family history and genes to match.
Laughing at one another’s jokes and ridiculous boo-boos were reminiscent of my last proper interaction with them, sometime 5 years back. (During the 5 years, I withdrew from my extended family a lot – for a variety of personal reasons. Now, I’m kicking myself for having done so because I have lost out on a lot of precious time.) I’m really happy that after all this time, some things don’t change. :’)
We had dinner at Saveur, a lovely place with awesome French food at really decent prices … to the point where we had no qualms about topping up our orders because the food was so good.
In fact, the staff also had this strange tendency to send food which did not belong to us (but meant for the table next to us) our way. And of course, some unsuspecting cousin will scoop a huge mouthful and plop it into his mouth … just before a more observant one goes “waaaait, did we order that?”
The occupants of the next table got so paranoid that they’d never fail to look over each time food gets served on our table. It was quite hilarious to watch.
During dessert. M ordered ‘cookies and milk’ which turned out to be this plateful of … something completely covered with milk froth. It was so intriguing that everyone leaned in for a closer look.
“What’s underneath?” J asked. (Obviously asking about the dessert.)
In response, M lifted the plate and peeked below it.
Facepalms all around.
The above, and a tonne of other laughter-inducing moments. I’m even giggling to myself as I’m writing this, and am suddenly aware of how much I really miss all these.
Good night, folks.
In the midst of my health insurance application right now and I can’t help but feel a little marginalized. And I’m pretty sure anyone out there with any form of medical history would be feeling the same way too.
In fact, some form of marginalization will definitely occur if you’re anywhere less than in perfect health, insurance or otherwise. I still clearly remember my part time waitressing stint at Swensen’s in 2005, when my manager grumbled aloud about how he sent one of my floor-mates back because she was feeling giddy (which was a nice gesture actually) which was then followed by “Can’t stand this kind of sick people. So useless and a waste of time only!”
That was then I promised myself that I’d never fall sick because this kind of managers are pretty much everywhere.
The point that ‘one should not be a sickie’ was further hammered in when I filled in my internship application for a local airline company in 2007, which asked for a medical history so detailed I felt I was applying to be in the police force instead of a lowly IT intern. (Thankfully, my medical history was still close to zero then.)
Then, 2008 happened and I had to adjust to what I coined as my ‘new normal’.
Subsequently, 2010 happened and I had to re-adjust to yet another ‘new normal’.
I was beginning to fear for my future, especially in a productivity-centric society. Surely, every company would only want to hire a healthy employee who can work her days off with as little sick leave as possible.
Thankfully, the only form of marginalization I’m facing so far is insurance. In all other aspects, all I can say is that I must be a really lucky person to be surrounded with the people I’m with now.
I’m really grateful and indebted to the people who gave me a chance to prove myself despite the occasional flare-ups due to my compromised immune system. I believe I brought this up to you guys in person before but I was told ‘not to be silly’. (; Thanks to you, I managed to reach a point where I feel self-actualized in almost every single aspect of my life.
To those out there living with chronic illnesses, keep your chin up and stay awesome.
“I was very grateful to have heard it again. Because I guess we all forget sometimes.
And I think everyone is special in their own way. I really do.”
– Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower