What the hell kind of an afternoon/early evening was that? It seemed as if I sucked up all the negative vibes and bad luck within a ten-mile radius. And it all started with my beloved fountain pen…
I feel as if a part of me died
Call me shallow at feeling this way over a seemingly simple, inanimate object. But the thing is, that Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen meant a lot to me. Despite being one of the relatively cheaper branded fountain pens out there, it was my one splurge on fountain pens, all my others being cheap Chinese knock-offs. Even then, I only bought that Metro because I got a good deal on a new pen in a fountain pen group; otherwise, I wouldn’t really have bought it for hundreds of pesos more at the popular shops. I spent hours looking for the perfect matching ink for it, then got a whole bottle since I intended to use this as a daily writer. And I did use this as my default pen at work, it’s part of my everyday carry, and I grew to love it even more as time went by. My current thin-paged bullet journal is almost out of pages and I was so looking forward to finally writing with my Metro on the thicker-paged Limelight Dotted Notebook I’m intending to use next. And then this happened…
Its demise started out simply enough. I printed out a coupla forms for a colleague from another office and asked her to sign my personal work log as proof that she received it. However, she did not have a pen with her at the time. Since I was already using the Pilot anyway, I handed it over for her to use instead of rummaging in my pencil case for another pen. I’ve known her to be a pretty careful gal, so how was I to know she was gonna drop my beloved pen?
My officemates all started at my scream of horror. She dropped my fountain pen–tip first. There was ink all over the floor and when I picked up my pen, I confirmed that the nib was completely ruined. It was bent all the way backward that it resembled a hook when I looked at it sideways.
There was no hope of fixing it, bent as it was. I felt weak in the knees and my hands went cold. My flustered colleague could only apologize even as I practically screamed at no one in particular that “Shit! Six hundred yun!” It wasn’t even just about its cost. I could easily buy another, but it still wouldn’t be the pen I loved. And no, she didn’t offer to pay or replace my pen.
It was the heartache, the frustration and the anger all mixed up that did it. For the first time in my almost six years at the company, I cried in the workplace, and right there on my desk where everyone could see me, to boot.
The Annie Batumbacal Fiasco
After work, we headed to the nearby mall for some errands. I was supposed to request for a PSA document but unfortunately for me, I missed the cutoff time by a few minutes. Which meant I needed to go back for that tomorrow, and earlier too. Feeling even more depressed than before, I decided to go to Starbucks for a cup of comfort.
When I finally reached the end of the queue, I put my PWD ID card (yes, I recently got one because I am practically blind without my corrective lenses) on the counter before the barista, placed my order, and gave her my short nickname (Anne) to write on the cup–because I figured it’s gotta be pretty hard to mess up a one-syllable name, right? She punched it in, I paid with the app, and only then did I notice that she did not give me a discount. So I told her I have my card right there, but she just said she couldn’t void the transaction and that’s that. Oh, I got pissed off for sure, but I settled for just glaring at her instead of arguing about it. I waited right by the claim counter for my drink because the store was full. And lo and behold, when my drink came up, it was called out for ANNIE.
And as if that’s enough, the passing security guard called out with a laugh, Annie Batumbacal! It was the final straw (pun not intended) and I snapped. I snarled “Napakasama na ng araw ko ha! (I’m already having a very bad day!)” As I unwrapped my straw at the counter, still clutching my PWD ID card, I told the other barista who handed me my drink that I should have gotten a discount but didn’t. She immediately apologized, asked for the card and told me that she’d give me a refund for the discount I should have had. It again triggered the waterworks so I grabbed a coupla napkins and covered my face as I couldn’t hold back the stupid tears. Yes, I was crying in the middle of a busy coffee house, how fucking mortifying was that? So I put my head down on my arms right there on the counter as I struggled to stop crying. I was in that pathetic position when the barista gently tapped my shoulder to return my card and money. She even offered some words of comfort when she saw that I was crying, bless her good heart.
So I went to Starbucks to find comfort in a cup of coffee, but found it in a nice barista instead.
The Right of the Consumer
I needed napkins since I’m about to have my period, but didn’t have the wherewithal at that point to brave the after-work grocery crowd. So I went to the toiletries section of the department store instead. I picked up a pack of cottony soft ones and saw in the shelf tag that they were discounted. But when the cashier scanned its barcode, I saw the full price go up on the display instead. I called her attention to it so she asked the bagger to verify the correct price. The bagger didn’t know where I got the napkins (I’ll forgive him since he’s a guy and doesn’t use napkins in the first place) so I accompanied him to the right aisle and showed him the shelf tag. The SA told us that it was the soft-dry napkins that were on sale, not the cottony soft. I told her that even if that is so, the price on the shelf tag (with its wrong information) must still prevail according to Republic Act 7394 (The Consumer Act of the Philippines):
Still, she insisted that it was not discounted and must be paid full price. The discount amounts to just twenty pesos which is a very small amount, but the why should I acquiesce when it was still a mistake on the mall’s part and impinges upon my right as a consumer? It wasn’t helping my already dark mood and I was starting to get pissed off. It was at this point that I took a picture of the products and shelf tag, and this alarmed the SA enough to call her supervisor/manager.
See the shelf tag beneath the green pack? The product description beneath the price clearly indicated that the discounted item is the pack of cottony soft napkins, not the soft dry ones.
Two higher-ups ended up in the aisle with us, probably a supervisor and a manager, going by their looks. I had no intention of getting the SA in trouble, I really just wanted them to own up to their mistake. We explained our predicament; I told them the same thing, pointed out that there is an active law that addresses that. In the end, the manager apologized for the mistake, and thankfully decided to honor the Consumer Right Act.
I feel emotionally exhausted after writing all these down now. What started out as a good day, went sharply downhill after that fall ruined my beloved fountain pen. Still, I’m thankful that aside from that, the other glitches of the evening got resolved immediately.
I needed to write all these down for catharsis. Because even after I’ve vented to my guy and my best friends, I still felt too full of negative vibes. I needed to let more out. So here we are.
And yes, I feel a bit better now.