How I Got Swindled Out of Money
A True Story
on Oct 28, 2019
Last Friday, I had an interesting dream which I beg to tell you about. I dreamt of myself looking for new shirts to wear. My friend Samuel Njathi took me to a certain shop where I tried on a T-shirt and a polo-shirt. And when they fitted me, I bought them at Ksh. 2,900.
Then I went to that same shop to have a song of mine produced. And they charged me Ksh. 2,200 for producing the song. After the song production, I requested the attendant to transfer the song from her computer to my phone. She did, and then wrote me an invoice asking me to pay Ksh. 500 for transferring the song from her computer to my phone.
When she handed me the invoice, I was surprised and angry to learn she was charging me an extra Ksh. 500 for just transferring my song to my phone. I protested for being overcharged and then called my friend Samuel Njathi. As the attendant listened, I said to Njathi while full of emotion, "Imagine I have paid Ksh. 2,900 for buying shirts here, then Ksh. 2,200 for producing a song and now this attendant is charging me Ksh. 500 for just transferring the song to my phone."
Turning to the attendant, I frankly told her I wouldn't pay the Ksh. 500. And I stormed out of the shop unafraid.
As I was walking home from the shop, it dawned on me that I had also been overcharged for buying a T-shirt and a polo-shirt at Ksh. 2,900. I thought I should have bought them at Ksh. 400 as I did in other shops in Kiserian market.
Still while walking home from the shop, I feared the attendant may have deleted my song from my phone when I refused to pay the Ksh. 500 she was charging me. But I again thought to myself she couldn't have been smart enough to do so as I protested. I however decided to check my phone just to be sure if the song was still there. As I was checking the phone, I woke up from the dream.
When I woke up, I went to the toilet for a short call while mulling over the dream. Before heading back to bed, I wrote all that I had dreamt about while the dream was still fresh in my memory. That's how I have managed to recall it so clearly.
Thinking about the dream later on over the weekend reminded me of the times I have been swindled out of my money by people who have overcharged me for their goods and services. Like there was a time a decade ago when I was charged Ksh. 70 for a new watch battery and a strip for the watch. It was not until I got home that I realized I had been overcharged, considering a new watch used to sell at Ksh. 90 in Kiserian market. That realization made me feel bitter.
Then sometime in December 2014, I entered into a cyber-cafe in downtown Nairobi and asked the attendant how much she was charging for photocopying a national identity card. She told me it was Ksh. 5. Guess what! When I was paying for browsing the internet in the cyber, the same attendant gave me less change than I expected. She had charged me Ksh. 10 for photocopying my identity card. I confronted her about it by reminding her that she had told me it was Ksh 5 but she insisted it was Ksh. 10. Being the peace-loving young man that I was, I left her alone and walked out of the cyber. Later on in the evening of that day, I felt very bitter for having been overcharged. I don't like it when someone swindles me out of my money, no matter how small the amount.
And then sometime last year, I went to a certain cyber-cafe in my hometown of Kiserian to print business cards. As the attendant printed the cards, I sat down to browse the internet on one of the cyber's computers. And guess what again! When it came to paying for the business cards, the cyber attendant charged me Ksh. 10 per business card yet I had always paid Ksh. 5 in other cybers. Of course I did tell her what I thought the actual printing cost of each business card should be but when she asserted that it was Ksh. 10, I gave her the money and left the cyber an unhappy man. But then as I walked home, it clicked in my mind that the attendant had forgotten to charge me for browsing the internet in her cyber; that neutralized my feelings of bitterness and I walked home a happy man.
My dear reader, we are living in a fallen world. There are people out there who are swindling others out of money by overcharging them. So let's heed the advice of Max Ehrman, the author of the evergreen Desiderata, who advised us to "exercise caution in [our] business affairs for the world is full of trickery." Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how I got swindled out of money, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometime back on "Dealing With Difficult People". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Shining Like an Evening Star
A True Story
on Oct 25, 2019
As I was relaxing on a sofa in our kitchen in the evening the other day, I saw through the window a light glowing in the sky near the western horizon - about twenty minutes after the Sun had set. At first, I couldn't tell if the glowing light was of a flying aircraft or a star. But when I noticed the light wasn't moving, I was sure it was a star. Then I realized it must have been the evening star I had read about in books when I was in primary school.
When it clicked in my mind that the glowing object was the evening star, I jogged my memory by trying to recall which planet is the evening star. Could it be Mars or Jupiter? I wondered. My curiosity led me to pick up my smartphone and google for an answer. And alas! I learnt from Google that the evening star is neither Mars nor Jupiter. It is the planet Venus.
I find it a wonder that the planet Venus can shine so brilliantly just after sunset and before other stars appear in abundance across the sky. It's a wonder because, unlike other stars, Venus doesn't produce its own light; it just reflects the portion it receives from the Sun.
Like the evening star that shines after sunset, I also want to shine as I journey in this crazy adventure called life. And here are some of the ways I thought could help me shine:
- Tapping into my talents: I don't know about you but for me, I have already identified my talents: walking, jogging, cooking, writing, singing, socializing, gardening, piano-playing and public-speaking. Having identified my talents, I will continue indulging in them everyday.
- Aiming for excellence: As I develop my talents, I will aim for excellence in all that I do. My model of excellence is God who when He was creating the universe, paused every time He made something to see if it was good. And the rewards of doing excellent work are fulfilling.
- Telling the truth: There was a time when I used to tell lie after lie in the stories I shared with people. Thankfully, I stopped doing so, and over the last four years, I have been striving to tell the truth in all that I say and write. I intend to continue dwelling on truth for as long as I live.
- Developing good habits: They say that we first make our habits and then our habits make us. So as for me, I have resolved to form good habits such as waking up at the same time every morning.
- Rejoicing in the success of others: Let's face it: most of us feel an inkling of jealousy when we hear some people succeed. As for me, I will always try to be as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
- Growing in knowledge: They say knowledge is power. So I will continue growing in knowledge by reading regularly and relating what I read with what I observe. I will also strive to create new knowledge by meditating on what I know.
- Being a good friend: Friends are essential to happiness. I will therefore be a good friend to people I value by being there for them and not talking ill of them behind their backs.
- Developing a positive mental attitude: And lastly, I will shine by having a good attitude towards life and in all that I do. I believe having a positive mental attitude will improve my chances of succeeding at everything I do.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on shining like an evening star, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Book Review: 'Think Big'". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.