Have you heard this saying before? It’s an American term for someone who gives a gift and takes it back, or expects something to be given immediately in return. It is commonly believed that the ‘Indian gift’ has its origins in the 1700’s when white settlers in America misinterpreted the Native American’s way of bartering. Regardless of origins, it seems to have found its way to me, here in the Tan Pho.
Recently I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone (yes its pink!) from the brand’s official store at the Crescent Mall. As part of a cross promotional campaign, they tied-up with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain to give Samsung customers free drink vouchers. Nice! Three days after, I got a package containing 10 vouchers. Nice Nice! The following week I got another set of vouchers. Nice Nice Nice! Wow, I wondered, how many vouchers more can I get from this transaction?
Feeling as generous as my benefactors, I gave away pairs upon pairs of vouchers to my friends and colleagues. And then… the phone calls started coming. A man who had very little English-speaking skills called me about 5 times, and from bits and pieces of the conversation I simply thought he wanted to know if I received their gift. I happily said thank you and said I got them fine.
Then, a messenger from the coffee company came to my office’s reception. Another voucher delivery? But alas, I finally understood what the phone calls were about! They wanted the second set of vouchers back! I tried to explain that they were no longer with me, but it was lost in translation.The day ended with a few more phone calls and finally I messaged them: ‘please stop calling me.’
I should have suspected that something was amiss after the second package arrived. But I didn’t want to underestimate the value of ‘value added.’ Lesson learned for them I guess… and for me? I’m still hoping another set of vouchers come in the mail. ~Mel C