Getting to know complete strangers had its benefits for both parties. Viewpoints were exchanged and perspectives broadened.
“I learned a lot from you.”
His knowledge of farming was too extensive compared to mine. He honed them through experience in the field, the result of trial and error through the years, valuable lessons that could not be learned from schooling alone.
“On the other hand, you gave me insights on what is more important in life. Frankly, I thought before that city folks are much better off than us. I have never imagined how fortunate we are living a simpler life.”
“Sometimes we compare lives for the wrong reasons. What we should be more concerned about is our own well-being. If we are satisfied with what we have, that’s already half the battle won.”
As we were finishing off with our conversation, a lanky fellow excused his way in between us. He held a small bottle which I believed was once filled by vinegar: the odor was distinctively acidic.
“Please put it in my tab,” he said after receiving the item he asked for from the old lady tending the store.
“Why do you always do this?” she complained. Her scowl created questions in my mind.
“Tomorrow is payday at the granary. You’ll get paid. I promise.”
Perhaps, the old lady has had enough of his untenable tactics.
“When you have cash, you buy at the other store. You come here when you needed a loan.”
Obviously, he was embarrassed when confronted with that fact. The other store which was closer to his house was owned by a stricter owner who would not give him a line of credit.
“I believe she has a point,” I politely interrupted. “You should be a more loyal customer to her.”
“Sometimes it is a question of distance,” he defended his action. “To save on time I go to the nearest store.”
“Yet you come here, further away, if you do not have cash. Isn’t that unfair?”
“I pay my debts. That’s important.”
“What if she does not give you a credit line like the owner of the other store?”
He considered my question and grinned.
I answered my own query.
“You’ll find another store, which is probably further away and hope the owner is not familiar with your practice.”
“It’s a democracy. We choose wherever we want to buy.”
“Granted,” I agreed. “But you should also have the decency to help those who help you through your hard times.”
My new acquaintance and the lady behind the counter nodded repeatedly, quietly approving what I had just reminded the customer.
“If she closes down, you’ll also suffer in the long run.”
“I guess you are right,” he replied, finally accepting my logic. “From now on, I promise to patronize this store, cash or no cash. True, she had been giving me credit for a long time.”
“Satisfied?” I glanced toward the old lady, waiting for her approval.
“That’s all I ask,” she said, grateful for my timely intervention.