It started with the armchairs. They needed new covers and finding fabric and someone who would make them for less than the price of a new car was a long, drawn out project.
Anyway, after weeks of gathering snippets of material and dragging home borrowed heavy, sample books and asking in cleaners and curtain shops, I found an affordable fabric in a colour that would look ok in the sitting room and someone willing to make up the covers.
So, yesterday morning I cycled into town to pick up the fabric and pay the balance of €209.00. I was heading for a quaint little shop with hundreds of bolts of different materials precariously balanced against the walls. One of those places that makes me want to buy a sewing machine. I waited my turn and the man behind the counter declared my choice “Very fresh. Shabby chic!” He put it in a bag, got out a calculator and then the phone rang. Answering with one hand, he totted up with the other, chatting all the while.
“That’ll be €109.00” he mouthed to me in a whisper, said goodbye and hung up. I gave him my laser card, trying to be as slow and cool as possible. As I keyed in my number he thoughtfully wrapped up the material in a more compact bundle after noticing my bike helmet. He talked about taking it easy and making sure that the package was well balanced on the back carrier. Then, with my receipt and the docket with all my details on it in hand, I walked out of the shop. Undercharged by €100.00.
With a feeling that a heavy hand was going to clamp down on my shoulder any second, I walked to my bike, practising a gormless, innocent expression and a surprised “Oh! Did I forget something?” exclamation.
I should be skipping, I thought, I should be tap dancing. But I wasn’t, I felt terrible.
Cycling home, each push of the pedals said “bad, karma, bad, karma”.
When I collecting the kids from school that afternoon, I was distracted and absent mindedly said yes to requests for Guzzle Puzzles and then got very cross when I realised they had opened the bags and I had to pay for them. By the time we got back to the house I had bitten the nose off everyone.
The phone number of the shop was on the bag inside the hall door. As I started dialling I already felt better. Although it did gall a bit when the man said “So I undercharged by €50.00? Wow, you are so honest. Thanks for ringing!” and I had to say “No. It was €100.00.” In a patient, pained voice. The words literally stuck in my throat.
I woke the next morning thinking, good things will happen today. I am such a nice person! And then .. But that’s another story.
To be continued.