Don’t be afraid to speak the truth so justice can be served (even if it’s “not a big deal”)

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:

[poll id=29]

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 — that I paid for something that I didn’t get — 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!

17 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid to speak the truth so justice can be served (even if it’s “not a big deal”)

  1. i agree with your dad but in the case of the snack I mean who would remember that its like yesterda! I prefer choose your battles well otherwise you go around drained over small unfair things that happen in your life… But right should be right and Justice should be executed no matter what how ever not always does it pay off…..

  2. Your dad is right. I try to avoid confrontation when i see it coming towards my direction i go the other way.

    I have learnt something today even though your situation is just muffin…lol

    abeg you worked hard for that money…

  3. lol…i can totally relate to this.., but normally i just brush it off and say $2 is not gonna kill me but i guess its good to speak up sometimes

  4. it depends… like i've gone thru a drive through and have forgotten to get my drink… not worth going back after i've gotten home.. besides the drink is worth pennies..

    the food looks good! what's all in it… was it spicy?

  5. It's not just a muffin, it's the principle of the thing o jare, it never hurts to be assertive, something I am constantly trying to be

  6. asper the muffin…if i am not stealing,lying or doing anything deceptive i will go back and ask nicely!If the location is out of my way, then i wont bother myself

  7. I would mention it and hope that they gave me another one but I wouldn't make a big fuss about. If they didn't offer me another one I'd probably feel a bit bitter about it and not go back there. Most reputable establishments will jsut give you the item anyway… At least as a good will gesture.

  8. Your Dad is right. Always speak up. The worst that can happen is they will say No.

  9. Congrats to your parents! May they live happily TOGETHER for as long as they live. Hmm mehn, I'd never go back and expect to be refunded pride..that is most likely to be my downfall. God forbid sha!

  10. I used to be bashful as a child, (always

    but now I am learning to speak out, and demand for my rights especially.

    As for the restaurants, now I would talk and ask for proper service

    I would also mention about the muffin in a nice way, ( maybe I could get it back)

    I'm still learning.

    Your Dad is so so so right!

  11. I sooooo agree with your dad and infact just caught some inspiration here. Usually, many of us allow ourselves get cheated under the foolish guise of ‘it’s no big deal’. It’s definitely okay to enforce your rights to the latter no matter how insignificant the situation seems. Good point here, sis.

  12. I used to be that way too. I would never confront anyone or insist that I get my money's worth. I just didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings!

    Once, my mom sent me to a store to buy eggs and I ended up buying them for more than they were worth. She promptly sent me back to return them and get her money back. I went under the staircase, curled up and bawled my eyes out until an auntie saw me and just gave me the money for the eggs so I could return it to my mom! Can you imagine?!

    of course I've changed a lot since then but some things still don't come easy to me!

  13. kai i see i am late to vote but my answer would have been – I'll mention it to someone at the shop the next time I go in, and request the snack I already paid for

    i also learnt this a while back..and ur dad is so so right…well some people already think i can be agressive but me i see it as my right…and if i used my money or time omo be sure that i will find a way to get what is mine! lol…i have so many examples as well..and might just do a post about this..

    apart from even demanding your right…sometimes we get scared of asking in general…but i have learnt the worst that can happen is the person will say no…and more often than not the person will say yes…just ask!

    i loved this post..and the picture..u r making me hungry now :P

  14. And no i dont think u overanalysed the muffin is something I can do…just to get myself prepared for any objections. :)

  15. ►Emilia Larsén
    I agree that you should choose your battles but I think if something is bothering you, no matter how little, if you decide to go deal with it, you should. You’re right that it doesn’t always pay off but I guess it’s a risk one takes.

    lol yes o, I worked hard for that money that went to the muffin jare.

    I bet there are many in your life that love that you won’t confront them. Is vSNC more comfy with confrontation?

    lol you’re cute. Yup, usually it cannot hurt to speak up, I would say. It all depends too on how you speak up.

    â–ºDiAmOnD hawk
    You definitely have to weigh the options. In the example I gave, I was planning to go to the coffee shop anyway so it totally made sense (to me) to mention the muffin from the day before.

    It was spicy, but not to the point where you can’t taste the food, which is important.

    â–ºOmosi T
    I’m like you: I can be assertive when the person I need to be assertive to isn’t around. It’s a skill
    that women more than men seem to lack.

    Awww, mo hope pe ebi o pa e mo.

    Regarding the muffin, I agree with you.

    â–ºNollywood Forever
    You clearly are familiar with the customer service industry! If they hadn’t responded nicely I probably would go to another coffee shop after that. LUckily where I work they are on every street corner.

    Long time! I hope you’re well? And you’re right: if the worst is “no”, one doesn’t have much to lose.

    Thanks for your comment. My mom is quite the fabulous cook.

    AAAAMMMMEEEN to your wishes for my parents…thank you! God forbid that pride is your downfall.

    Oh, I love how you can see yourself changing with respect to being assertive as you age! I pray that you will continue to change to be a woman who is able to speak up for herself when necessary.

    Aww, thanks for your comment. The “it’s not big deal”s can add up and suddenly you realize you are being too permissive and therefore you never get good service.

    Aww, poor thing. You are too cute! Being assertive is definitely something I’m finding you learn and have to keep practicing else you will lose it.

    I would never think you’d be assertive, aloted but it’s good to know. lol at “and if i used my money or time omo be sure that i will find a way to get what is mine!”. hehe, wa jeun (spelling?).

    And thanks for saying I didn’t overanalyze. A few of my oyinbo friends would think I definitely did.

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