So. This ridiculous thing happened to me and I just have to write it down for posterity. I mean, I told this to my friends and they thought it was CRAZY. It is pretty damn crazy. And hilarious. Only I didn’t think it was funny when it happened.
It all started on a Tuesday morning. I had taken Zac to see the paediatrician (AGAIN, I see him more often than I see my own family) and we were lucky to be in and out of the clinic in 30 minutes. WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT, GUYS. It was as good as striking lottery. But on hindsight, I think God was preparing for me something and giggling in his throne made of fluffy clouds and pink candy floss.
After seeing the doctor, I was wondering if I should go for coffee at a hipster joint. But I was dressed in very unhipster clothes and had no make-up on, and I refused to be seen in hipster joints in my most aunty outfit. So I headed home. And the moment I went through the front door, my helper asked me, “Ma’am, did you order tofu?”
There were three large bags of TOFU in various forms sitting on my kitchen floor. I was flabbergasted. Did I order tofu? Why would I order so much tofu?
According to the helper, a man came by with the bags and insisted that we had ordered the tofu – all 21kg of it. Not only that, he demanded payment of $99.50 for the tofu. My poor hapless helper was scared of his brusque manner and promptly paid up with her own money WITHOUT CALLING ME.
“Why do you think that I would need so much tofu?!” I asked my helper, aghast at her idiocy. “And why would I not let you know if something needed payment? I would have given you the money. And why didn’t you call me?”
“I don’t know! I thought ma’am having party. The man tell me to pay so I pay.”
That’s right, girl. We be having a tofu party for our vegetarian friends.
The receipt that the man had given her had NO company name and NO number to call. I was getting more and more irritated. How on earth was I going to get her money back? And then I saw it – the mistake. The delivery was meant to go to the unit on the 16th floor, not the 6th (ours).
I left a crying Zac at home, took the receipt and marched up to the 16th floor. It was a Chinese family and they had their front gate opened. The elderly couple looked up expectantly, as if they were waiting for me. I waved the receipt at them, told them that the tofu meant for them was sitting in my kitchen, they needed to sort it out and pay my helper her money. They mumbled something about how they had been waiting for the tofu, they had gone downstairs to collect it once they had realised the mistake but my helper did not understand them. I told them I did not care, just look for me once it has been sorted.
10 minutes later, as I sat nursing Zac, the elderly woman came down with another woman. They waved an invoice at me and said, “Here. Call the company and settle it with them.”
I asked if they could just take the tofu and repay my helper the money, and they said no, they couldn’t. Because the tofu was no longer “fresh” and they did not want it anymore. Like that’s my problem?
“But it’s your responsibility. Your helper stupidly took receipt of something that did not belong to you and paid. So it’s your problem. It has nothing to do with us,” they said.
What. The. Hell. Fine. I did not want to argue with them and promptly rang up the company. A Chinese lady answered the phone.
“I AM CALLING FROM BLOCK XYZ IN ABC DISTRICT AND YOUR MAN DELIVERED 21KG OF TOFU TO MY HOUSE BY MISTAKE. I NOW HAVE 21KG OF TOFU SITTING IN MY KITCHEN AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK,” I said politely.
The woman hemmed and hawed and said she would call me back after checking with her colleague.
“NO NEED TO CHECK. YOUR RECEIPT WAS WRITTEN 16TH FLOOR BUT I AM ON THE 6TH FLOOR. IT IS YOUR MISTAKE. I WANT MY MONEY BACK. SEND SOMEONE TO COLLECT THE TOFU AND REFUND ME.”
“Okay, okay, give me your mobile number please. I’ll check what time the driver is able to collect the tofu.”
After I hung up the phone, I turned to the two women at my doorstep.
“If they do not collect back the tofu and refund me, I will get the money from you,” I said firmly to them.
“Us? Why is it our responsibility? You are being unreasonable. This has nothing to do with us. We did not make the mistake, they did. And you should not have accepted the delivery. This has nothing to do with us any further,” they huffed indignantly.
I tell you, I almost felt like punching something at that moment.
“My poor helper earns pittance each month. This was from her salary. This was your tofu, you should take it and pay her back.”
For 10 minutes, we stood there, tossing our arguments back and forth.
Oh, did I mention that this was conducted ENTIRELY IN MANDARIN? My Higher Chinese teacher would have been so proud (despite my dismal C6 – in my defense, I did not study for the paper, thinking that I was going to ace it because my Chinese is fantabulous. Clearly not).
Finally, I told them I WILL FIND THEM IF THE COMPANY DID NOT REFUND ME and they started beating a hasty retreat. As my helper closed the gate on them, I rang the company one more time and demanded that they collect the tofu and refund me the money in the next hour OR ELSE. I slammed the phone down and suddenly, a voice piped up from the door.
“We’ll take the tofu.” I eyed the women suspiciously. “You let us in and we’ll do a stock take. And then we will take it,” they said.
And true to their word, they did take the offending tofu back and paid up the $99.50 to my helper.
Which they should have done in the first place. URGHS!!!
And so ends the tale of 21kg of tofu. Or otherwise known as the “It Only Happens To You” story, according to my girlfriend.
(I was trying to find a picture in my library that represents the WTF-ness of the whole situation but I couldn’t. So I shall just leave you with the following.)
Oh and the 21kg of tofu? ‘Twas meant to be shared among eight families.