I usually turn down most after-work engagements but tonight we have a farewell dinner for a team member who's moving back to India.
So I went.
At 7pm I received a call from home, like I've been receiving for the past few days, at around the same timing.
It was from my little boss, who was half crying and asking why I wasn't home yet.
Except for yesterday where I worked from home, I've been going home quite late every day. 😓
I told her I'd be back later tonight but Daddy would be home soon.. and she abruptly hung up the phone. 😂
I wasn't planning to stay out late so by 8ish I was already on my way home.
Received a message from hubs:
When I got home five minutes later, she was indeed waiting for me like this, half naked. 😂
"Hello Mummy! My name is Neh neh!" She declared.
"Aiyo! Who taught you this?" I asked her.
"Neh neh taught me!" She said.
Seriously don't know where she learns these stuff from!
We spent some time just chatting on my bed.
"Later 8 I have work!" She said to me suddenly. "I have a lot of meetings like you!"
She then declared she was going to sleep on our bed tonight, and proceeded to lie on the hubs' pillow and cover herself with the blanket.
"This is Mummy and Clarissa's bed," She said to Daddy. "Daddy sleep in the study room. No one protect you."
"Mummy protect Clarissa. Clarissa protect Mummy."
Yet after she finished her milk and saw Daddy coming out of the bathroom, she shifted to the middle of the bed to make space for her Daddy. 😘
And even cuddled with him for a bit before she fell asleep.
It feels a little like Friday today.
Maybe because there's no school for her tomorrow.
But we'd still need to go to work. 😩😬
In other news today, the hubs collected our new car.
And I learned for the first time today that our old car is a boy. 😂
We bought it second hand from the hubs' uncle and it has served us well for 6 years.
I also realised I'm not very sentimental about it because I didn't take a picture of it. Though I did ask Clarissa to say byebye to it this morning. 😂
Over lunch today my boss was sharing with us some of the memorable experience he had while doing consumer work.
One of them was in the U.S. where he was interviewing a single mother regarding diapers.
They were trying to understand the drivers and barriers to get consumers to buy premium tier diapers.
It was mostly the same old boring stuff they've heard.. until they decided to take a break.
The interviewee took out a cigarette and started smoking.
Cigarettes are actually expensive in the U.S. and in fact a pack of cigarettes cost US$10 more than a pack of the diapers they were trying to sell.
My boss asked what he thought was the most natural question.
"Why are you spending more on smoking, which is bad for health anyway, instead of wanting to buy better diapers for your baby?"
She laughed, and told him, "This is the ONLY thing I spend on myself. And smoking is the only me-time I get to escape from reality."
My boss said her response actually brought tears to his eyes and made him reflect on himself and how presumptuous he had been.
They never solved the tension, or came up with the solution for the business based on this learning.
But he couldn't forget this story.
He also shared very interesting stories from his consumer work in India.
He'd asked barbers from rural, suburban and urban areas the same question – "What's your dream?"
The barber from rural area was a one-man show. His dream was to work as a barber in the military. Because he would get old and he would need a more stable job and income instead of trying to run his own business.
The barber from suburban area had family members helping him. His dream was to move his business to urban areas.
The barber from urban area was an employee. The owner of the shop wasn't there.
This barber's dream was to get certified by a hair academy, so that he can eventually start his own business.
It is interesting, how the same question asked to the same profession yielded such different answers.
I love listening to stories like this, and it makes me think about writing and accumulating my own.
It is a reminder that "consumers" are in fact human beings, and human beings have hearts and stories to share whether they are rich or poor, or whether they say it out loud or not.
I've once interviewed a mid-low income consumer in Thailand, trying to learn more about her shopping habits.
She buys small sizes of everything, from the convenience store.
If you worked out the cost per gram, the smaller sizes are in fact more expensive.
"Oh because I don't need to use so much at one go," She said. "And I have to buy many other things when I get my pay."
I very quickly realised that what I took for granted, that it was only "logical" to go for better value, was not something she could afford upfront.
Yet throughout the interview she was politely answering my questions through the translator, smiling and nodding at me.
I couldn't help but notice her eyes whenever she smiled shyly.
She didn't have make-up on, but on her eyelashes there was a thin layer of mascara.
Perhaps that was her only and little simple indulgence that we all took for granted.
Not 10 different shades of lipstick or 20 different shades of eye shadow.
I should perhaps be more deliberate about capturing my #consumerstories so I'd always remember where I started and why I started. 😊
Now that I start thinking about it, there are so many stories!