Somewhere out there, someone thinks I’m a shoplifter. Seriously.
And I can’t blame them.
My weird story started after I bought my new phone. I’ve gone a year without a smartphone (for which, the explanation deserves its own blog). So let’s just say I finally went to Oppo at the Cyberzone in SM Megamall and got myself a starry purple Oppo F9 before I 1) lose interest in having a phone again, 2) change my mind about getting a phone again, 3) changebmy mind about which phone I’d get again, or 4) spend all my money on food again.
The Oppo F9 was already on sale and since it was a day after Valentine’s Day, they were giving away chocolates. Yeah, other stores were giving away powerbanks and speakers as freebies but I got a Toblerone. The attendant also took a selfie with me, I dunno, as proof that she gave me a Toblerone? I hate selfies but *shrug* sige na nga! Besides, that selfie would prove significant if things went differently. I’ll get to that.
I asked the attendant if they were selling memory cards (she insisted that I didn’t need one but my phone is less than a week old and I’ve already used up more than half the memory for my books and audiobooks), and she volunteered to take me to a store where they did. I said it was okay, that I’d find one on my own, but she insisted so again, sige na nga! She took me to a store, the name of which I didn’t know but I can point it out to you if I see it again. She was the one who asked the guy at the counter (whom she knew) if they had memory cards, and he said yes, and handed her one.
Anyway, she showed me the 256GB Samsung whatchamacall it and I asked how much it was. The guy at the counter said 7. As in “seven”. So my ignorance said okay. I thanked the Ate from Oppo and she left, then when the guy started to write the receipt he told me, “ma’am, P7,000 po.” And I was like “SEVEN TAWSAN?!” I had no idea it was THAT freaking expensive. I looked for a cheaper option, and ended up getting a lower capacity memory card. Up to now, I’m still avoiding looking for one in Shoppee because I know that if I find one that’s significantly cheaper, I’d… do something.
Anyway, I paid for my purchase, wrote my name and number on the receipt, and he handed me my change and my new memory card which I slipped into my Oppo paper bag, but he was looking around, lifting stuff up from the counter, obviously looking for something. By that time, I was only standing there, waiting for my receipt but he was still looking around with the other ate in the store. So curious me asked, “ano po ‘yun?”
“‘Yung 256 po.” Meaning nawawala ‘yung 256 GB na memory card.
I lifted my hands from the counter and took a step back kasi mamaya mapagkamalan akong magnanakaw, and I started to look around for it when I had a strange, sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach. I turned my head toward the paper bag hanging from my arm and, like I was expecting a poisonous alien tarantula to climb out, I took a peek inside.
And there, right beside the one I bought, was the P7,000 256GB Samsung memory card they were looking for.
If you’re on the outside looking in, of course, you’d think “so nanakawin mo?”. I mean, I’d think that too, di ba? Why the heck would it be inside my paper bag if I didn’t intend to take it? But the thing is I didn’t even know how it got there. And everyone in the world would be like, “suuuure”. The only explanation I can think of is that Ate from Oppo who showed it to me, slipped it in because she was so sure I was going to buy it. I was so sure I was going to buy it too before I found out I could buy another Oppo phone for the price of the cursed thing. Whatever her reason, I almost got into trouble.
I pulled it out of the paper bag and gave it back. I said an awkward and embarrassed “nilagay yata ni ateng” to which the guy just gave me an understandably judgey look. I really can’t blame him though. Why wouldn’t he? Nakakasama lang ng loob because I’ve never stolen anything in my life and here’s this guy giving me a judgey look because he thought I thought I could get away with it.
I gave back the item, he gave me my receipt and I walked out of the store with as much dignity as I could even while my anxiety told me they were probably calling me names and saying things like “akala niya makakalusot siya ah”.
I gave myself my usual 24 hours to dwell then I got over it. Pero ganito na lang. For what it’s worth, here’s a rundown of what could have happened if I did end up walking away with that item.
1) I would have returned it. – I’m the type of person who walks two blocks back to the bakery to give back an extra P5 coin when ateng tindera gave it to me, thinking it was piso. Partida, alas dose ng tanghali ‘yan, summer, at wala akong payong. I also do that sa McDo, sa grocery when SM can afford giving me an extra piso, and to a cab driver who gave me a tip to thank me because I returned the extra P300 he gave me when he thought I gave him a P500 bill instead of a P200. Kung di ko kaya manlamang ng limang piso, ‘yun pa kayang P7,000?
But why should you take my word for it, right? So let’s go to my next points.
2) Check your CCTV footage if you have security cameras. Please have security cameras. – If you do, you’d see that I didn’t put the item in my bag. I’m not in the habit of putting things I haven’t paid for in my bag. Which is why I’m so sure I didn’t put that there. Makakalimutin ako pero di talaga ako magnanakaw.
3) I gave them my real name and my real phone number when they asked me to sign the receipts. – I realized this in the middle of my “dwelling in what happened” moments. I gave them and the Oppo lady my real contact info. If I was planning on stealing something, I wouldn’t have given them accurate information where they can find me. Sure, I have a prepaid number and I can change it easily, but my name? And…
4) I also can’t change my face. – The guy in the store knows the ate from Oppo. If he asks her about me, she has a selfie with me in her phone. Madali na lang akong hanapin because I’ve had the same face since high school. Mas mataba lang ako ngayon. If they can’t find my SNS accounts, they could have posted my picture and asked “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN?” or “BABALA” or something to that effect if they didn’t want to outright accuse me of stealing. They way social media works especially it it’s something scandalous that a nobody could go viral in three minutes, someone who knows me would have seen it and told them who I was… or told me that they were looking for me.
I plan military missions and burglaries alike for books. If I did all the things I did that day before stealing something, I’d not only be an amateur, I’d also be stupid. If I did steal that memory card and refused to give it back when they found out, they could have posted my picture on Facebook and I probably deserve to go viral for the wrong reasons. Aside from my innate sense of fairness that won’t allow me to take things I didn’t earn, I wouldn’t put my honor, beliefs and my reputation on the line for a freaking memory card. Okay lang you?
‘Yun lang naman. And I know the people involved wouldn’t get to read this and they’d probably go on with their lives thinking na muntik ko silang manakawan. It did bother me for the first 24 hours pero ngayon, natatawa na lang din ako. But I still want to apologize to them for the misunderstanding kung sakaling mabasa nila ‘to at ma-realize nilang sila pala ‘yung nasa kuwento na ‘to. And I also needed to write this for myself kahit di nila mababasa.
My point is… just be careful, okay? And don’t take things that don’t belong to you. Bad ‘yun.
On a lighter note, I named my phone, Io, after one of Jupiter’s moons. I think the name also means “moon” in Greek. Io was also one of Zeus’ mortal lovers in Greek mythology. So far, I’m loving her.