I thank God for allowing my parents to celebrate another year of marriage as they did two days ago. They are a wonderful and inspiring couple (am I biased?) and I am glad that they continue to hold each other up and exemplify what “in sickness and in health” and “for better, for worse” mean. It is my prayer that God will continue to grant them the health to enjoy many more happy years together. May my siblings and I also work harder to make them proud in all we do and become.
My father was away on the day of their anniversary, but he was returning home the following day, so my mom prepared one of his favourite treats. She brought some over for me and boy am I lucky (click image to make bigger):
This efo riro and eba taste as good as they look (and you non-Nigerians or those unfamiliar with Naija food will have to take my word for it!). I am so spoiled. If I could cook like my mom, I would have a line of men who I have reached through their stomach at my door.
Ok, now I have a question for you. Here’s the scenario:
Ok, now for the lengthy discussion.
One of my father’s biggest complaints about his four children is that we allow something (low self confidence? fear of confrontation?) get in the way of getting what we want or are entitled to. For some reason I have no trouble with confronting friends, but when it comes to dealing with someone in the service industry, I am less able to speak up, even though I worked in the service industry for almost half of my life and had customers lie about things and get want they want because “the customer is always right”. (They aren’t, actually.)
So, before my dad started speaking up about this flaw he sees in us, if I went to a fast food restaurant and ordered french fries and received a smaller size than I paid for, or received them cold or burnt, I would complain about them to my family or whoever I was with and refuse to eat them in protest, rather than asking the restaurant give me what I ordered. Or I might go out of my way to return a shirt I bought at another location of the store that’s further from me and inconvenient because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the person who sold it to me or I didn’t want to appear in a negative light for returning something that didn’t suit me.
My dad thinks these actions are ridiculous!
You spent your hard earned money, you should be able to ask for what you paid for without fear or shame. You should be confident that because you are not trying to dupe or lie to the people, that they will see you for what you are and treat you with the respect accorded a customer. But not me, I used to shake with fear and assume I wouldn’t be believed.
I did learn though: I have no problem speaking up at restaurants if I get something that isn’t as I ordered or how it should be. Of course this food costs them pennies to make so they will happily toss away the fries and make you some fresh golden ones. It’s just not that serious to them.
Most stores allow you to return something within a certain period of time if you have the receipt. If I lost a receipt and the item was unwashed and still in its original form I would keep it because the store’s policy (which is on the back of the receipt I lost), is that you have to have the receipt for returns. My dad’s advice was always to take the item to them and explain the situation. They are human. Things like this happen. Maybe they can’t give you your money back but they should be able to give you store credit or something. And every time I followed this advice the situation was resolved to my satisfaction. I now advise my friends to do the same, just as my dad advised me.
So, back to this particular scenario. On my way to work yesterday, I realized that I left my breakfast at home, so I’d have to pick up a muffin at the coffee shop. And as I realized that, I remembered that I had bought a muffin the day before but had not received it or taken it out of the store with me. I began to think of a game plan to get my muffin without having to pay again. First off, I was sure that there was no way they’d remember me since they see a lot of people each day, so my original plan was to go in and buy a muffin. But then I started to think that there’s no shame in telling them the truth â€” that I paid for something that I didn’t get â€” and see what they say in response. I was prepared for them to say that they don’t remember me and can’t give me a muffin, but I was hoping that either the guy or girl who served me would remember me, but what if they weren’t working? And even if they remembered me, they might think they had given me the muffin and I was just trying to get a free muffin. My final plan was whether they ended up believing me and gave me my muffin or not, I would buy a drink to show that I’m not being cheap or something like that.
(I know some of you are screaming “It’s not that serious!” or “GNG, you overthought the whole situation!” but this is me. Can anyone relate?)
In the end I told the person at the counter (not the one who was there the day before) that I had bought a muffin the day before but didn’t get it. And the minute she heard that the person who had served me the day before came over and repeated to the other woman that yes, I had bought the muffin and I hadn’t received it. I didn’t even know she was working! She even remembered what flavour of muffin I had bought and apologized that they had sold out of that particular flavour. The whole process was painless and not as stressful as I tried to make it.
I guess my dad is right (though he probably wasn’t thinking of this scenario when he told me): when you know you’re speaking the truth, you shouldn’t be afraid of coming forward, no matter how insignificant it is, especially if it bothers you. Even if things aren’t resolved exactly as you hope, you can walk away knowing you tried.
So, I got my muffin without any problem. I still bought a drink to go along with it though. I guess old habits die hard!