Annie had a disturbing look on her face as we walked past the mall down the road, so I asked her why her demeanor changed suddenly. She exhaled and hissed, and told me something that left me disappointed and dumbfounded.
One Saturday, Annie went to the mall to do her shopping and get a firsthand experience of the much talked about mall. She had just moved to that neighborhood and was still trying to settle into the new environment.
Despite the large crowd, the noise from people and the loud music at the mall, she saw the shopping adventure turned from a mundane experience into something magical that should rather not come to an end.
There were so many stores selling all sorts of goods, as she walked down the hall way, the atmosphere made her grin from ear to ear as she basked in euphoria of the best shopping experience she had had in a long time.
Then, the unexpected happened after she had her shopping basket filled with goods. There was a long queue at the payment point, but the joy of a great shopping experience made her ignore the length of the queue and took her patience a notch higher than normal.
When it finally got to Annie’s turn, she smiled and greeted the cashier pleasantly, but there was no response from the young man.
She paid for the goods with some wads of Naira notes and stood there for her change. The young man said, “Madam, take your change.”
He gave her some naira notes with a nonchalant attitude and rude tone.
She collected her change and was expecting to hear the pleasantries usually heard over the counter at the end of payment. The young man looked at her with a frown on his face and said, “Madam, I have finished with you. Next!”
Annie turned back, trying to figure out if everything that had happened was real or a dream. She moved slowly away from the queue and was wondering if anyone could explain the embarrassing situation to her. Surprisingly, no explanation from any one seemed to be coming. She was left alone to figure it out and deal with it. She smiled sheepishly and moved on.
As she moved a little closer to the hall way leading to the exit door, she noticed she was short changed.
She ran back to tell the young man who had attended to her earlier. He looked at the receipt over and over again, stared at her suspiciously and vomited “Take it!”
There were no apologies for his mistakes and her inconveniences.
She opened her mouth in shock but she could not even find the words to deal with the situation.
Annie, who is popular among her friends for creating scenes and drama in unlikely places, was weakened into a debutante to the embarrassing situation in front of her. She managed to drag her heavy feet out of the mall with a promise to never to return.
After she narrated her experience, it dawned on me that shabby treatment of customers may be one of the many reasons why businesses spring up and shut down before it celebrates half a decade anniversary.
Unfortunately, many don’t take it seriously and it is quickly swept under the rug.
About The Writer
Onyinye Ubah is a Nigerian storyteller, budding screenwriter and poet. She studied Mass Communication in Nnamdi Azikiwe University. She runs a storytelling blog,www.onyinyeubah.com where creative people share their creative journey. Her debut novel is on the way.
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