The vouchers were presented to journalists as event favours for covering the official opening, last week, of the company's latest outlet somewhere in the city.
One voucher was good for any pair of shoes, redeemable for free. The other was a discount voucher offering 30% off the shelf price. A commendable gimmick for some instant publicity; unfortunately one marred by inefficient execution, as Makcik Kama was to learn later.
The daughter didn't quite take to this brand (a tad old-fashioned, said she), and so gave the vouchers to Mum, well knowing it was Mum's favourite make (because it was one of the few in town to carry ample sizes).
As it were, paddlefoot Makcik Kama always rued shopping for shoes. She hated having to pop her head into a shoe store with that oh-so-predictable question: "What's the biggest size you carry?"
Whilst the designs of this particular brand were none too elaborate (definitely miles apart compared to Jimmy Choo's and the rest of the best), its solid leather court shoes, slippers and sandals in shades of grey, brown and black, were definitely to Makcik Kama's uncomplicated (bland?) taste.
So off went Makcik to Ampang Park, accompanied by a visibly bored Pakcik, who got roped in as her driver for the morning. No way was she going to brave Kuala Lumpur's downtown traffic by herself.
As Makcik went imelda-marcosing within, Pakcik sat behind the wheels of his ancient Merc, rolling his cigarette (Old Holborn/ Golden Virginia tobacco, ZigZag rolling paper), just like a true-blue supir.
In the store, Makcik Kama found herself facing an unexpected battle, after spending time picking, trying and deciding on the right shoes.
As she presented her vouchers for the two pairs that she had chosen, the cashier shook her head (a tad imperiously, Makcik Kama thought) and said: "We cannot accept these vouchers because we have not been informed about them."
Makcik Kama could feel her angin rising. Her face felt hot to the touch. Looking at the cashier squarely in the eye, she asked flatly: "Are you telling me that you are not going to honour your own vouchers?"
Back came this response: "Kak, we really don't know anything about this promotion. Recently we had others coming in with similar vouchers and had declined them too." She didn't have the courage to meet Makcik's steady and steely gaze, though.
That was when the stubborn mule in Makcik Kama broke free. "Let me tell you something. That's not my problem but I am not leaving this store until I get my free pair and my 30% discounted pair. You go figure what you want to do."
Plonking herself in a nearby chair, Makcik Kama waited, lips pursed, handbag primly on her lap. About the only thing absent was the rapping of her knuckles. Makcik Kama was determined to see this through.
Sensing that the old woman really meant business, the cashier summoned her colleagues. Everybody got antsy. A flurry of activities followed. There were calls made; the vouchers were faxed to someone somewhere.
More calls, on the office phone and cellphone. An oldish guy (perhaps the manager/supervisor) also got into the act, scrutinising the vouchers (and the words thereon) as though they were some valuable documents.
Ten minutes passed. More huddles. More whisperings. Oldish Guy spoke on the cellphone, again. In Chinese this time (it was in English previously). The girls spoke Malay throughout. A "1Malaysia Moment" it was in that shoe store.
Makcik Kama observed with much amusement, her eyes resting on the two pairs of sandals left unattended on the floor. They had begun to look pathetic (the sandals I mean, although the girls themselves looked none the better in comparison).
Fifteen minutes later, Oldish Guy came around and said, somewhat sheepishly: "It's okay now. We have sorted everything out. Just pay RM80 for the discounted second pair; the first is free."
As Makcik Kama walked out two pairs of shoes richer, she thought she could hear a collective heave of relief emanating from within the confines of the cashier desk...