Sunday Lifestyle

No more ‘palusot’

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

I write this because we have certain behavior patterns that we must change.

Last Feb. 7, I wrote that I make rosaries and sell them for P250 each. I did not expect to be so overwhelmed with orders. Who would have thought the num­bers would hit 293 rosaries? I don’t know why I decided to make a list of the orders to give me something to refer to.

On the first day I got 42 phone calls and the requests ranged from one to 50 rosaries. My Customer #25 put in an initial order of 12 rosaries. I listed that down. After I listed her, she called back saying she was changing her order; she now wanted to order 18 rosaries. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I listed you down as ordering 12 rosaries. Since you called more people have called and I have taken their orders, too. I am the only one making these rosaries. Let’s just stick to your original order for 12. I think that would be fair to the people who called after you.” She tried to bargain. I told her, “I’m sorry but I cannot raise the number you ordered. There are many more who are ordering and I believe in everyone getting her fair share.” She agreed.

So far I have made 90 rosaries from my list. I even learned how to make rosaries for men. This morning I was about to begin #25’s order for 12 rosaries. I texted to ask if her order was all for girls or for girls and boys. She texted back, “All for girls 24 rosaries.”

When I read her reply I got genuinely upset. She had already tried to sneak in six rosaries the second time she called. I already told her she could not do that. She then went back to her original 12. Now she was asking for 24? Does she have no memory? Or maybe she assumes I have no memory. But more likely it comes from the Filipino belief baka sakaling makalusot. “Maybe I can sneak a trick past her,” is the more accurate English translation.

I tried to calm myself down. I imagined a typical Filipina mother who read the article and decided to order 12 rosaries for her daughters and nieces. One of her daughters sees the picture of the rosary and says, “You have to order more. My friends would love to have something like that. Order six more for me.”

Maybe she said, “I already put in my order.”

“You can order more,” her daughter says.

So she tries. I tell her it would not be fair to the people who called in after she did. She must have told her family my response. They probably felt rebuffed and insisted that she add more and more rosaries. To her credit, she didn’t try to call me again after that.

But I texted her to ask if there were any boys’ rosaries. She must have seen that as an opportunity to sneak a little trick past me.

“Gud am po All for girls 24 rosaries,” she texted back.

“No, you only ordered 12 on your first call,” I texted. “I cannot make you more because there is a long line after you. Either you will stick to your original order or I will strike you from my list and make them for the next person. Do you want your original 12 rosaries ordered or nothing at all?”

“Okey po 12. Thanks po.”

Some of my readers may think I was rude to her. No, I was speaking straight. She was speaking in curls. I knew her original order and was ready to deliver on it. She was trying to run rings around me to see if I would deliver more for her. She was mak­ing palusot, being sneaky. Well, I’m sorry, but you should know I am not a person you can run rings around.

I write about this because running rings around agreements is one of the serious flaws I observe in the Filipino character. It is always one of the ways we do corruption. She thinks, I will pretend my original order was for 24. Maybe she will not remember. Or, in other circumstances, I will put this paper that needs the boss’ signature discreetly near the bottom of the pile. By then he will be tired of reading what he’s signing. He will just sign it. That will close the deal. I will get my kickback.

So this column is not merely to accuse this lady, who, by the way, is not the only one who has done that trick. The others are smarter. After I said no, they remembered it and did not try again. This woman kept trying. I wrote this because I wanted to tell everyone who reads me that we all have to think straight, then to talk straight, and to honor our agree­ments. We have to do that always!

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