After the first day of school, everyone in our class decided that we’d go to the local movie theatre at Pink City Mall to catch a movie since we’ve all been eager to experience it. We purchased tickets for the fairly new movie, “Chennai Express” and went to the food court to find something to eat and kill some time before the movie. Ordering food with limited Hindi and with no knowledge on how to order and purchase food was probably one of the most ridiculous, frustrating and funny experience I’ve ever had.
Song and I were really hungry so we wanted to order a decently larger meal that we could both share. We examined the menu and decided on a combo meal of rice and a side dish for 150 rupees but for some reason, we couldn’t pay with cash. We didn’t understand why though because we pay with cash upfront everywhere back home and assumed it worked the same way here. The worker tried explaining why they couldn’t take our cash and tried to direct us to some other place but we still didn’t understand him. A bystander who noticed our struggle to understand the worker, communicated to us with his limited English that we needed to go to the front desk of the food court, get something like a cash card, put money on it and then use it to purchase our food. After we thanked the man who helped us, we went over to the desk, got a card and put money on it. We went back to the food stall and tried ordering our meal again but it didn’t work. A little more frustrated at this point, we asked why it didn’t work and showed the receipt to the worker to prove we had put money on it. The same man who helped us before came back and explained to us that we were 20 rupees short and that the card had not been activated yet. It wasn’t until after we looked at the receipt again that we realized we had technically only gotten 130 rupees on it. We thanked the man again and went back to the desk and added 20 more rupees to the card to activate it. We double-checked our receipt to ensure that we had 170 rupees on the card. Now that we had 170 rupees, we were confident that we’d be able to get our food this time. Nope, we were wrong.
We gave the card to the worker and tried to order our meal- we were rejected once again. Super flustered and frustrated at this point, we showed him our receipts, pointed out that we had 170 rupees on the card and insisted that we had paid enough and should be able to purchase our meal. He pointed at the wall and we read the sign “5% tax to every meal.” Of course there would be tax and of course we would forget about it! Completely irritated and amused at this point, we laughed it off, gave up and ordered a cheaper meal with pop to use the entire value of the card.
Lesson learned: Never assume, always read everything, don’t be afraid to ask for help and remember to laugh about the situation afterwards!