A little bit of winter dumbness

The other week I had gone to the Fotex store in Lyngby storcenter for my grocery trip. I came across a superb offer on Pancake mix. If you buy one you pay 22 kr. but if you buy 2 you only pay 26 kr. Given my love for pancakes buying 2 pancake mixes was just a no-brainer. I bought my stuff and came back home happier than ever. The next day I noticed I had only brought one pancake mix and the other must have got left behind in the shopping bag. I checked my bill to confirm and I saw that I had paid for 1 pancake mix for 22 kr.

That was not a happy feeling, but knowing how awesome the people in Fotex are I figured I could go the next day and pick another mix and pay just 4 kr. and be done with it. So I went. I went to the counter and explained the situation the girl at the counter and asked if its ok to pick up another and pay 4 kr. She rolled her eyes as she looked at another girl she was happily chatting with and asked me to explain it again. I did so dutifully taking all the pauses in the world and making sure I left no cryptic PhD talk in it. The girl at the counter again looked at the girl she was chatting with, rolled eyes, and said “No, that’s not possible. Its a new day”. Now that did not seem to make any sense.

I did not want to argue with her so I went over to another guy and asked whats the return policy. He told me if you have the bill and return the stuff within 30 days, we would accept it. So, I went to the counter again and politely asked the girl if I could return the pancake mix I bought. She said, “Yes”. I said, “Great, then please take it back”. I also told her that if this is so, isnt it exactly the same thing I suggested earlier ? That I return the stuff get 22 kr. back and then go buy 2 pancake mixes for 26 kr which is the same as paying 4 kr. for the other mix. The girl just made a weird face and said, “Please give theย  mix and the bill”.

That I did, she went to her computer and did some stuff and came back and told me that the mix I was returning was not on the bill. The bar code on the mix did not seem to match with what the computer showed for the mix purchased in the bill. I just stared incredulously. I told her that was the bill and I have not bought any other mixes and the mix must be on the bill as otherwise the machines which detect if you have paid for stuff you are taking out of the store would have beeped when I took it the other day. How am I supposed to know what bar codes get put on the bill or not ? Am I not supposed to trust people on the counter ? Am I supposed to go check bar codes on bill after every purchase ? Her reaction was, “I am sorry” and she walked off. It really felt insulting the way the entire episode panned out. I am not being stingy about the money, I had just gone to correct an honest mistake. Given my past brushes with people in the stores here I was more than certain that the solution would just be eked out in a matter of seconds. It did not matter if I would have got the other mix for 4 kr. if the whole situation was handled with more care and understanding than plain rude, insulting behavior. What actually panned out was an episode of rude nonsensical behavior which has made me a bit wary of what to expect in stores. Maybe I was just lucky so far and this was just a jolt to restore the normalcy of day to day life.

Looks like this is what they did to me as well

A pinch of happiness amidst the insignificance

I have often heard people complain about the incessant lack of time and how everyone is so busy. A case in point is a new obsession of working people – the calendar. Whenever I travel on the S-train, I find it intriguing that people traveling alone always play with their smart-phones ignoring everything around them. I did something similar as well, getting myself engrossed in a book or a research paper for a short 15 minute journey. Until something really strange hit me home today while traveling back from the University.

The simple smile

I was biking back to take the train from Hellerup when on a zebra crossing I found an old man about to cross. I stopped and gestured him to cross before I turned right. He hesitated and gestured me to. Both of us started moving at the same time and we again gestured to each other. Then I got off my bike and gestured him to go. We both broke into spontaneous laughter. It was a simple but a poignant moment which shows how the simple things in life are just waiting for us to open our hearts to them.

The woman on the platform

I was still thinking about this incident as I made my way to the platform and suddenly I saw a woman walking across the edge of the platform. Something suddenly hit me. I was watching a video on the the relative insignificance of Earth in this Universe yesterday and the magnitude of it hit me today. What are the odds of some loose atoms coming together in a predefined structure to form the Earth ? What are the odds of some carbon atoms evolving to form this very woman living in a society all around us ? What are the odds of everything around us forming from nothing ? Isn’t it completely strange that as humans we choose to ignore it all believing we have got used to it being “natural” ? I got on the train and saw most people focused on their smartphone. And then I quietly sat and observed everything around me marveling at all the odds that came together in giving me my place in this Universe at this very point of time.ย  Being amazed and being incredulous is the least we can do to acknowledge our very existence.

And how insignificant we really are