Didnt quite get to offload this from my emotional tank since I came back, finally have the time now.
I got bullied at the tax-refund office. Stood up for myself (experienced a range of emotions along the way). More and more women are standing up for themselves. Atta girls!
So, we needed to get a stamp from the tax-refund office at the airport before we depart from the country. This stamp indicates that goods have been brought out of country and is validated to be exported (i.e. not bought at a tax-free price to be sold inland). Otherwise, we would need to pay a penalty on top of the tax-refund fee. Being a law-abiding citizen of Singapore we make sure to get all the paper works and join the appropriate queues to get that precious stamp.
I was 10 over person behind in the queue when we noticed an angmo being rejected by the customs i.e refusing to give him the stamp (tax-refund officers would direct customers with too-big a figure of receipt to the customs for verification), the angmo stood around, probably thinking what to do or how to deal with the situation. I didnt bother about him, he’s not my problem.
Soon enough, it was almost my turn. I noticed the officer’s interaction with the previous traveller. She was flustered, coughing, lifting up her bottle (as though showing she needs to go get water), trying to indicate, tell the traveller that goods inspection was after immigration. The traveller misunderstood, asking, pointing if he needs to go join the above-stated customs line. After much through and fro, she gave up and walked away to top up her bottle (I supposed) he walked to the customs line.
I was thinking, poor thing, she seems unwell and the line of travellers getting refund seems never ending (need not mention about some travellers who might have given her a hard time previously).
I stood at the line, waiting for the next available counter. She came back, made eye-contact and signal me to go over.
I had 2 slips, 1 for cash refund, already received at the mall, the other for credit card, to be credited sometime down the road when I arrived back at Singapore. The tour manager warns us to take a picture of the stamp should the tax refund office keeps the receipt so that should there be further questioning, we have a proof of validation.
I stepped up, presented my receipts, mentioned that one has already been refunded and the other, I would like to get in cash if possible. She said “okay, I know”, proceeded to do the returns in USD, I asked if I could get Euro instead, she said ran out, so I asked my husband to get refund in USD or in credit card. we chose credit card. She carried on her task. My husband walked away. 🙂
I explained that that was my first time, I wasnt sure what was happening, she winked at me and smile said its okay. Sure. 🙂 I stood there and left her to do her job.
I saw her process my 1st cash-refunded receipt. After stamping, she clipped it in a stack. She carried on to the credit card one. She gave me back a new receipt. I panic as the receipt does not have a stamp. I stop and slip the receipt back, “But the receipt does not have a stamp,” I said.
Thats when she lost it. “Trust me, lady, its there, your details, your credit card number,” she even took a highlighter and highlighted my credit card details.
I said “okay, okay” I walked away since she seems to know what I was talking about. and she said “trust me” ma… so I leave her alone.
As I turned, I checked again, okay that figure is for credit card refund. hmm.. but what about the figure from the other cash refund receipt? I turn back again, waited behind the next-customer whom she is attending to.
When the next-customer left, I present her the receipt and said “what about the cash-refund receipt?” I then pointed to that above-mentioned stack. “I need to take a picture, just a picture.” 🙁
She then took that new-issued credit card refund receipt and proceed to highlight the amount, “here is the amount, no need stamp, this is okay, trust me,” she tried to explain, looking like she is almost breaking down… 🙁 I seriously feel so heartbroken for her.
“no, no, no, this one, this one,” I pointed to the stack where she clipped my cash-refunded receipt again and said “just a picture” as I held up my phone and act as though I was taking a picture. To my horror, she stood up, took the stack and put it on her rolling chair and push everything backwards, further into the office.
“no, no, no, just a picture,” again, I said, gesturing with my phone.
“its okay, its okay,” I heard that as someone shoved me from my left. (I obviously stood my ground and not move).
WAH. you have no idea the anger in me at that point of time. (yup, woman’s emotions are like that.. one moment my heart is all out for the tax-refund officer, cos it was a very simple miscomm, just put the stamp-receipt at the counter, I will take a picture and I will leave you alone; the next, Anger was coursing through my blood.)
I stopped what I was saying put down my phone and the stuff on my hands, turned and looked at him. Tall, probably in the late 40s, ang mo, my head was probably at his shoulder level, big built.
In a calm and definitely not soft voice (without hand gesture), “GO AWAY”.
The person got it, and he said “okay okay”. Stood there quietly.
and I got back on with my case.
Again I said “picture of the stamp” (gesturing with the phone), “cash-refund receipt”. Then I think she got it. She took the stack, took out mine and left it at the counter.
I positioned it, took a photo and then returned it. “I’m so sorry, thank you. Its my first time.” smiled at her. She winked at me again. I turned and noticed my husband, he asked what happened. I refused to respond and walked to a corner with him.
I scolded him, “why were you not there with me to deal with that guy,” “why do I have to raise my voice at him instead of you doing it?” again, I asked. I explained the situation in short and asked for a hug. “He tried to push me away while I was trying to ask for the cash-refund receipt to take a picture of the stamp,” the husband understood and nodded. “I noticed that guy, he had trouble with the customs and has been going counter to counter. The customs officer just ignored him and went away.” he explained. “I was just trying to deal with my problem,” I half spoke in an inaudible voice, while going in for a hug. Tears welled up in my eyes…
(pity-anger-sadness, yup, all within 10 minutes)
Although I got the intruder to not dismiss me, I felt so bullied seriously, so disrupted, so disrespect. How dare he!
That angmo…. bloody piece of crap.
There’s a saying in chinese, 老虎不发挥就把我当病猫 loosely translated as “dont treat a tiger as a sick cat just because the tiger didnt exert itself”.
Girls are standing up for themselves more and more. Atta girl!
Thanks for coming by and spending time.