“Hey, wanna hangout today?”
“Sure! Let’s meet up when the shops are opened?”
“Alright. See ya then.”
Ping and Pebbles met to have brunch with a breakfast menu. Ping mentioned that she wanted to check out some crossbody bags from K shop as it was in the price range for Ping to splurged on. After getting brunch, Ping and Pebbles headed to the shop. While browsing and checking out the prices on some of the bags that peaked Ping’s interest, Pebbles suggested to walk across the street to check out C shop instead.
“Probably you can find something similar with a better quality and brand name.”
“This is the kind of price ranged that I can just grab and go with a peace of mind” said Ping while pointing at the bag she has set her eyes on. “But we still can check out what they have over there.”
“Okay, will get only the items that are on sale” Ping added while walking over to C shop.
Of course that was not the case. The items that were on sale did not interest Ping one bit. While looking around the store to see if there is anything else that looks good, Billy, the sales person came to assist.
When being in a land that hosts different kind of people in terms of colour and accents, it is hard to avoid one simple question, in which Billy asked.
“Where are you from?”
There is always confusion when it comes to nationality and ethnic background. All 3 of them know this very well. As small talks continue, Pebbles found a bag for Ping. As for the price, it is well within Ping’s desired range. However, Ping was not feeling the bag. It was not calling out to her. This is one principle that Ping goes by in order not to regret a purchase or have an impulsive purchase. Slowly Pebbles was trying to convince Ping to change the strap to have a fresh outlook on the bag. Slowly but surely as Ping was looking into the mirror, she was feeling the bag. She kept changing the strap back and forth to see how much the bag is speaking to her. By the time Billy was done attending another patron, Ping was almost set in her mind to get the bag.
Billy too suggested to change the strap in which both Ping and Pebbles told him that they have done so. The only concern now is how much would that additional strap cost since it was a stand alone item. Ping was in another dilemma upon hearing the price. There goes another round of contemplating.
Billy by now was already asking how is the working schedule like for Ping and Pebbles after learning the nature of their jobs. Billy proposed to hang out some time when all of them are not working. Being courteous, Ping and Pebbles did not reject the idea.
Somehow between wrapping the bag up and paying, Billy managed to get his number saved in Ping’s phone. It was not done in a creepy or forceful way. But Ping did noticed how it went down. With the phone constantly on Ping’s hand, while handing over the credit card, Billy was there repeatedly saying softly “Take down my number’.
After all said and done, the only number that was given out was Billy’s and Ping did not plan to do anything with it. Ping and Pebbles left the shop with a gleeful heart due to the purchase and the size of the paper bag that housed the gift box that Pebbles requested for to put the bag in to look like a present.
While they were in another retail shop, only then Ping realised that she could have gotten a discount from C shop from her discount card since it was a full-priced item. She was beating herself on this while thinking how much she could have saved. She was then told that probably she still could get the discount as they would just need to void the existing transaction and redo the transaction. Ping and Pebbles left the shop and went back to find if Billy is still there to help them out, well, more like helping Ping out. Ping did not mind if it can not be done. After all she was the one who did not remember to even ask about the discount.
Billy stepped away for a moment. He came back with some good news. The discount can be given, however the process to do so will be lengthy as it will go through multiple layer of approval in order to void the existing transaction. Billy suggested to meet during his lunch break to give back the discounted amount. Ping and Pebbles were confused as to how will the refund be made during lunch break since it was paid by card. Surely Billy would need the machine and the card to void the transaction.
Nonetheless, all of them agreed to meet up later. This time Ping had to give her number for Billy to contact her later. Ping and Pebbles left the shop and continued their shopping. As they were discussing the possibility of how this refund was going to work, Pebbles mentioned that maybe if Billy would give back in cash, most probably it would be from his own pocket.
As the time was drawing near to the meet up time, Pebbles asked if Billy had contacted her. Although Ping’s phone was not on silent, she did not hear any phone notification sound or ring. Just as she pulled out her phone, she saw a messaged that was delivered to her a minute ago. It is not good to take up the break time of others. Ping and Pebbles settled their affairs at the cashier and proceed to find Billy.
As expected, Billy handed over a small envelope containing the cash amounted to the supposed discount. Further questioning on the process of the refund was done to understand better as Ping could not accept the cash after learning that it is not from the shop, but from Billy himself.
“It was my fault for not asking if you have the discount card. It is my job to know. Keep the money.”
There was a bit of going back and forth with the envelope. Ping was just trying if she could get the discount but was totally fine if it can not be done. Billy was questioning Ping as to why she did not want to accept the money.
Ping came up with a solution. She will hold on to the money first until the void transaction is done, in which it will take about 2 weeks, then she will return the money to Billy.
Now that this situation is sort of settled, the 3 of them are stuck in an awkward moment. There we have Billy having his meal while Ping and Pebbles could not just leave after Billy has helped Ping. They continued with more small talks. This time, the small talks have gone a bit on a deeper level. Questions about how long do you plan to stay in the country, how long have you been with the job, what do you do on your free time or time off work, and so on were blatantly put out. These are just normal conversational catalyst. Then came a shocker question that pretty much revealed a lot.
“How does marriage works from where you are from?”
Ping and Pebbles were trying to process the question as it is complicated to explain when it involves the national faith of the country. Pebbles explained that there is no issue if it is same faith marriage or interfaith marriage as long as either party is not of the nation’s official faith. It gets complicated if the interfaith marriage is of the official faith. That is when the other party is not of that faith will need to convert regardless in order to have their marriage registered in the country. Billy was taken aback slightly as this does not apply to his country. It is the same for interfaith and of same faith. The elephant in the room was now out of the room. More awkward moment.
Pebbles was really helping Ping a lot to break these awkward moments as she continued to handled the questions. At one point, there were quite a number of people trying to get passed Pebbles chair as she was sitting in the middle of the walkway at the restaurant. Billy offered to switch places since he would have to leave soon to resume work. At that moment, Ping was wondering what is the intention of changing seats since he would then be in the way too. A quick exchange of murmurs and glances happened between Ping and Pebbles where Ping is hinting to Pebbles to help her to get out of this little mess.
Soon it was time. Billy had to leave.
“I hate to leave you guys here and go back to work.”
“Let me know if you need me to get the transaction done.” Said Ping.
Each said their goodbyes and left the scene. Ping and Pebbles did not stay any longer and got their lunch elsewhere.
After coming back home and slowly evaluating the whole situation, even after voiding the transaction, Billy would still need the card and the PIN number in order to proceed with the new transaction.
“How will this story unfolds?” Ping thought as she tries to pin down the incident.