Parking lot cards.
Food court cards.
Even arcade cards.
But on a daddy-daughter date two years back, the only thing getting swiped was me.
It started at the mall, when a lady cut me off to get the parking spot I was backing into (ironically, she had a sticker across her back window that read: “Be Courteous To Others”).
At The Pizza Company, the appetizers showed up long after we got done stuffing our face with pizza.
At Swensen’s, a waitress refused to take my order for a chocolate float with a scoop of chocolate ice cream.
“Sorry, sir,” she said, “but we only have chocolate floats with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.”
“Can’t you just switch the vanilla for the chocolate?” I asked.
“Sorry, sir,” she said, “you can only order what’s on the menu.”
However, I was determined to make this date a memorable one.
“Let’s go to Kidzoona arcade,” I said to my daughter.
When we got there, I ordered 100 baht in credit from the girl behind the counter, then she took my cash, activated an electronic card, and handed it to me.
I stuck it in my pocket, grabbed my daughter’s hand, and she lead me to a pastel-colored boat that sprayed mist out of nozzles as the vessel rose and fell.
“This one,” she said.
I helped her up the steps and into the boat, reached into my pocket, and tapped the card on the screen.
I tapped again.
Again nothing happened.
Flustered over the parking lot and dinner and the chocolate milkshake incident, I started slapping the card harder against the machine.
“Why can’t anything go right in this damn place,” I grumbled.
I held the card between my thumb and index finger, waving it at the girl working the counter.
With my other hand, I pointed to the card and started mouthing, but not saying, “It’s not working. It’s not working.”
She squinted and looked closer at my hand, confused.
Here we go again, I said to myself.
If she gives me another silly answer, I’m demanding my money back.
Then, cautiously, she walked up to me and lowered herself as Thais do when they don’t want to inconvenience you.
“Sir,” she said softly, “that’s the card for the parking lot.”