A lot of pens to sell

By Tomas Gerardo T. Araneta
A lot of pens to sell
Jottings GPX

cult

So, this just happened.

I was lazily sitting inside one of the busiest cafes in SM Bacolod, waiting for the debilitating heat outside to dissipate. The ice on my mint chocolate shake had barely begun to melt when a loud voice woke me from my relaxed stupor.

And there she was, dressed to the nines to look attractive, with matching make-up. She opened her mouth: “Sir, mabakal ka ballpen? Para ni tani sa akon nga…” I stopped her mid-sentence and told her that I wasn’t interested. She tried to speak, but I motioned with my hand a more definitive “no.”

For the uninitiated, my actions could come across as rude or elitist. But what if I told you I encountered these people before, all saying the same speeches and selling the same things? The first one I met (while dining at the food court of 888) said that she was a college student and that buying her pens would help finance her college education.

That’s a lot of pens to sell, I thought to myself. Anyway, the bleeding heart that I am, I acceded to her request and became a victim of her scheme.

I didn’t know it then, but it turns out these young ones were not slaving for the chance at a decent college education but rather for a sinister cult whose claim to fame includes bulk cash smuggling and sex trafficking.

All of these deceptive practices have been going on for a very long time, and the masses have only been aware of it recently due to some damning exposes from former members.  These people are not on the same level as those grifters lurking on elevators pretending to be your long-lost helper, preying on your memory and sympathy; they are worse: unwitting (?) accomplices to a duplicitously evil organization.

Okay, maybe there is a chance that some of them don't belong to the said cult. But one thing they all have in common is that they are annoying and lack social etiquette.

Also, they seem to cherish invading your personal space.

My friend recounted that one of these pen-sellers sat at their table and immediately burst into a well-rehearsed sales pitch. No invitation: just direct in-your-face brute force solicitation that would make even Jordan Belfort squirm.

Is there anything we can do about them? Short of calling the mall police on them, I’m afraid we can't do anything but endure their guerilla tactics. Like the lack of potable water and the frequent brownouts, these people are near-eternal problems that the Bacolodnon must face while on this mortal plane.*

***

Tomas Gerardo T. Araneta's passion is writing what interests him the most. Those things include movies, books, and other unnoticed social phenomena.

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