On Saturday I left a bag of tangerines and pineapple at the hawker centre. When I went back the next morning, the man at the stall said, “Yes. No. Oh, I threw it away.”
I said, “You threw away perfectly fresh fruit? Come on, you know that’s not true.”
I knew he’d eaten it. He knew he was lying.
So he said, “I will compensate you” and I said, “Man, it’s just fruit. Forget it. But don’t lie to me next time, okay?”
I bought my breakfast as usual and replaced the fruit but I was thinking about it on the way home, and I believe this is symptomatic of something else.
When someone leaves perishables, you keep them for a few hours. That’s only fair. But if at the end of that day nobody comes, you don’t chuck out perfectly beautiful, nicely wrapped tangerines and pineapple. That would be a waste. You eat them.
Okay, they were commercially wrapped so you could keep them up to three days. So maybe he could have put them in the fridge and kept them an extra day. But hey, it’s not a gold watch. It’s not money. It’s just bloody fruit.
So why didn’t he just say, “Oops, when you didn’t come back, I ate them”?
I think it’s because people are so stressed at the moment that they yell for nothing at all. It’s not uncommon to see people screaming at staff for bringing the wrong drink or the wrong dish. All that aggro has created a situation where people lie automatically, just to avoid a scolding.