PL & I like quiet and seclusion.
Perhaps that is why we have been on our own for so long.
But having decided to get married, and in Church, she needed a Bridal gown. So we went to a Bridal Show, figuring we could get everything we need in one place.
We went in, Spoke to three exhibitors… then RAN out of the hall! I must say I had never seen PL so frightened before.
It was a cool Sunday afternoon. It was raining and we had decided to drop by the Bridal show at Singapore Expo’s Atrium. It was held in a large meeting or convention room.
We were accosted (this word has never been more appropriately used, in my view, than in this particular instance!) at the entrance by a smiling Tiger in the guise of a smarmy middle-age man whose last illusions of the joys of marriage were probably shattered in the 80s. Yet here he was selling the illusion.
Naifs that we were, we let ourselves be led to a table with somebody else’s illusion captured in a photo album, on display to trap all other naifs. This exhibitor was just by the door. He or rather She as we later found out, must have paid a pretty sum for such a prime location.
Faced with an obvious trap, our instincts were to run, and never look back, but what held us there was the realisation that we had committed to a path that required us to pass this gauntlet. So against our natural instincts we sat down and shared our simple dream with the stranger who was out to turn our dreams into cash for himself.
He showed us the album of another couple who had bought into the False Memory Conspiracy frolicking in sunny Singapore in the most impractical outfits. Oh I did detect some true memories there – when the girl fell and hurt herself, and the man helped her up (while the photographer merrily snapped away).
But PL commented that some of the shots were embarrassing, and the passage of time will only make them more so.
And it was true.
All we wanted was a bridal gown and evening gown for PL, and a suit for me. The recommended a package which would include make-up, flowers, and decorations for the car.
I was unconvinced of the need for a decorated bridal car, but I’m a philistine and would have cycled to Church if I could. (Call me “Michael” and give me a bicycle built for two!) PL convinced me otherwise (later) and we eventually got this package. But this was only the first exhibitor and we said we wanted to look around.
The sales rep let us go with no fuss. And that was the easiest escape we made that day.
The second agency we spoke to PL calls her “Friend” because in the course of trying to sell us a bridal package, the lady offered to be PL’s friend, and to give PL a discount based on their newly formed “friendship” and subsequently, offered her a customised gown. When we said we would like to look around some more as she was only the second person we had spoken to, she over-shared and said we were her first customer of the day (it was almost 4 PM) and she had been at the hall since 11 am with no customer and nothing to do, and would we please please pick her so she had something to show for the day.
We stuck to our guns and left.
The third agency we spoke too, had photos in an iPad, but by then all the gowns were blurring by me (and possibly PL too). And when we said we needed to discuss our options the lady offered to leave the little round table so we could discuss in private (at their booth).
Then PL told the biggest lie I had ever heard her tell, and said that she was hungry and needed to get something to eat and so we needed to leave. (Those of you who know PL knows that she is NEVER hungry. She could live on ONE meal a day if necessary, so for her to invoke her stomach to escape… Incredible.)
And so we left. PL practically ran out of the hall, even as a fourth agency tried to accost (there’s that word again, appropriately used) us. I ran a rear-guard action and engaged the enemy (by now they were all enemies!) while PL made good her escape. I took, his little brochure, and said that the little lady needed to get something to eat and that we would be back.
Out in the relative safety of the open atrium I rejoined PL, swore that that was the most unnerving experience in our lives and retreated to a little cafe for hot tea. And this was the extent of the unease that PL felt because she NEVER drinks hot drinks. The experience must have really discombobulated her for her to drink hot tea (and she even said it was nice!).
Over tea, we analysed the three agencies. In terms of cost, the first was the lowest. In terms of language, the first spoke to us in English, whereas the other two spoke mainly in Mandarin. We were sure the third one could also speak English and this was a minor matter to me if PL was more comfortable with the other two.
However, PL was not comfortable with the “Friend”, and we felt that she was not very professional to be using emotional blackmail and begging to get what she wanted.
The third was more professional but perhaps too professional and too pushy. She even offered to leave to give us space to discuss. Clearly she was well-trained and prepared.
We agreed that the first agency was the one we were most comfortable with. They were not pushy (we escaped them the easiest). They seem professional (letting their service speak for themselves; did not engage in childish blackmail). But yet easy-going and casual. Which was closer to our personality.
But most importantly, they were sited near the door, so we could get in and out quickly without passing any other agencies!!!
And that’s how we chose our bridal gown package.