Done with back-to-school shopping for 21 kids, yesterday I decided to get 3 families from northern Perak to gather at a supermarket in Taiping – 11 children altogether from the 3 families… Ashraf’s 3 children, Rahimi’s 4 children and Maya’s 4 children. Interestingly, out of the 11 children, there was only one boy, Ashraf’s youngest 10 year old (who looked more like a 7 or 8 year old child because of his size). Ashraf & Rahimi themselves didn’t come, Ashraf had to work while Rahimi, when I called last week, was hospitalised. So their wives came with the children. I had never met them before though, so I just told them to meet me near the escalator at the main entrance of the shopping complex and I made sure I had their numbers saved in my handphone.
Immediately after my zuhr prayer, off I headed to Taiping. Managed to get to the shopping complex within an hour, and just as I got to the main entrance I saw Maya and her 4 girls. We still had to wait for the other 2 families. I then decided to call Samsiah, Rahimi’s wife. She said she was on the way. Next, Ashraf’s wife, Siti. Just as I was looking for her phone number, she called! “Akak yang pakai baju warna kelabu tu ye? Saya kat atas ni!” I looked up to the first floor and saw a lady waving. Okay, so 2 families already there. I just sent a text message to Samsiah, telling her that I’d be waiting at the first floor near the trolleys.
Samsiah finally got there 10 minutes late. I thought she came by bus, but apparently she and her children came by car, a relative of hers helped to send them there. It was only then I found out that Rahimi had passed away the week before, 2 days after I called to arrange for the children’s back-to-school shopping.
Anyway, we started shopping at 3.10 pm. I just told the mothers what they were entitled to and then I just let them choose the schooling stuff for their children. Siti only had to help out her son with the uniforms etc. Her 2 older girls were big enough to choose on their own without their mother’s help. Maya’s children didn’t have to choose any uniforms as their mother had already sewn their uniforms herself. She only claimed the amount she paid for the materials.
A few of the children were quite choosy, complaining about the materials… kasar sangat… licin sangat… etc. According to Siti, usually she’d have to bring them to a few different places to get the stuff that they really wanted. And in addition to that, they couldn’t afford to buy everything at one go, so usually they’d buy their schooling stuff in stages.
But yesterday, they didn’t have the chance to go elsewhere to choose their stuff, just pick whatever was available there. Not if they wanted me to pay anyway. Siti got worried when each bill came up to over RM500, except Maya’s because she didn’t have to buy uniforms. She was afraid that her children may have spent over the budget. I told her not to worry as it was still within the budget of RM200 – RM250 per child.
With the mothers using the “cepat sikit pilih, kesian makcik tunggu lama” excuse, we managed to complete yesterday’s shopping spree at 4.35 pm – that’s less than 2 hours. I had enough time to get back to Ipoh for my asar prayer!
3 more girls for another round of back-to-school shopping this Friday!