Laughter and books make life a little easier

What on earth is this strange sample I received?


Well, it’s a long story.

At the beginning of April, I went to the mall really early on a Saturday morning with one goal in mind: to get my misbehaving phone fixed. Long story shorter, I would charge my phone to 100%, then I would use it and as soon as the battery drained to 50%, usually just at the end of the workday, it would die, without any low battery warnings or anything like that. So, essentially, charging my phone was just a lie. It wasn’t actually charging when it said it was.

That’s why I took it in to the shop. Well, the diagnosis was pretty easy: it was the battery that was swollen and not taking in a proper charge any more, not my software that was faulty. So I asked the obvious question, if I could buy a new battery, thinking that it was fortunate that my phone is still one of those with a removable, rather than a built-in, battery.

It turned out that this was unfortunate, rather than fortunate. They don’t stock those batteries any more.

That was Cell Phone Place 1. They sent me to Cell Phone Place 2, which just happened to be at the other end of the mall, a bloody long walk away.

Grumpily, I started off. I don’t like the mall. There’s too many people and things and smells, and it just turns into sensory overload very quickly. Because I don’t like the mall I try to avoid it whenever possible, so I’m also not very familiar with its layout and I was paying careful attention to the route. (I’d already got lost once on the way to Cell Phone Place 1 and wanted to avoid it happening again, a tough job with my lack of navigational skills.)

So I was reading the shop names as I walked to make sure I was still going in the right direction, when a well-dressed young lady held out a strange sample product to me. I was so surprised by this weird-looking yellow thing that I stopped. Usually I just politely say no to these people with samples and keep walking, but I actually thought for a second that it was a very small banana she was holding.


I asked her what it was and discovered she had a very strong accent. It was sounded like Russian and it also sounded a bit theatrical. She told me it was new product and that it was “salt for the body”. Well, it sounded like “salt”. It could have been “soap” as well, or possibly any other word that starts with “s”.

I asked her what I’m supposed to do with it and she told me to apply it to my skin. Mysterious.

The young lady wrapped the mysterious yellow sample in a tissue for me and I put it in my handbag to continue on my cell phone mission.

So Cell Phone Place 2 turned into Cell Phone 3, which turned on Cell Phone Place 4, which finally turned into Cell Phone Place 5. Only at this point I finally managed to get a new battery and also a speech about not charging my phone at night, which is what caused the battery swelling up. Apparently.

So, back to the story about the mysterious sample. At long last, I got to go home with a now-functioning phone and since then, the stick of yellow whatever has just been sitting around on its tissue in my bathroom. Now I’ve decided it’s been too long and that I’m going to figure out what this is. I did try to google the shop to get an idea about its products but all I got were loads and loads of very bad reviews regarding the effects on people’s skins. Oh dear. Well, I’m definitely not getting this stuff close to my face. I wouldn’t have done that anyway, even without the bad reviews. I have sensitive skin and break out easily.


I suppose that dark tip (you can see better now that I’ve turned on the camera flash) could be like salt crystals or something. That’s the part that really reminds me of a banana. It also looks kind of gross.

The yellow stick feels vaguely oily, not like salt at all. It smells like piña colada, though, which I’m sure would be nice if you happened to like that smell. Unfortunately for me, I don’t like the smell of piña colada. It always takes me back to some disgusting make-up products that happened back in primary school.


Well, there’s only one way to find out what this actually is. Let’s go add some water to this sample!


Look at that! It turned translucent as soon as I got some water on it. You can see my ring all the way through it. There doesn’t seem to be much else happening here though. Let’s scrub it a bit.


Yep, I definitely think this is “soap”, not “salt”.

My hands now smell strongly of piña colada. They also feel very clean, which makes up for the smell that I don’t like. So I think I would call this sample a success. It’s not the shop’s fault that the smell of pineapple and coconut together gives me flashbacks.


I just realised that the sink has a stain that I hadn’t noticed before. The soap is rather photogenic though.

Five minutes later…

I changed my mind. I don’t think this is a success any more. I was just about to start editing the photos when I realised how dry my hands were feeling. Not that they had been well-moisturised to begin with, but now it really feels bad. So I went to apply some coconut oil (yes more coconut, but fortunately this doesn’t smell like piña colada), which is usually a cure-all for dry skin, but so far it doesn’t seem to be having much effect.

Maybe it was salt after all? Salt that somehow foams? That’s what it feels like. I’m glad it wasn’t my face.

In conclusion, getting my phone fixed was a success but the yellow soap-salt was not. Oh well, no loss. It’s not like I paid for the sample. I paid for my phone, so I would have been much more upset if that hadn’t been a success. My phone is working fine now, though. I used it to take these photos. A bit tricky, since water was involved.

I’m going to go apply hand lotion now.


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