About Me

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I teach abroad and continue to pursue the life I was given as if it was my last. Many people think it is. In my spare time, I enjoy lapping up ice cream, reading spy novels, and euthanizing manta rays.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lazy Sunday

The power went out at six this morning.

I went to GAME to buy new earphones (my ipod factory ones fell apart this week on a run). The exchange at the store is indicative of customer service here in Uganda.

(I enter the store, go to the technology section, find three earphones for sale. One for four dollars, the other two for nearly forty. I scan and find a man in uniform)

ME: Are these the only earphones you guys sell?
SALESMAN: Yes, please.
ME: Are these the only earphones you guys sell?
(I show him the four dollar ones)
ME: Are these good?
SALESMAN: Yes, very good.
ME: You've tried them?
ME: So how do you know?
SALESMAN: You can buy them over there. Thank you.
ME: Can I open them first? I want to listen to them before I buy them.
(he looks around and then back at me sheepishly)
SALESMAN:...Sorry, you cannot.

Regrettably, I go up to the counter and pay for them. I give the cashier a 20,000 shilling note. The change due is 12,500.

CASHIER: You don't have anything smaller?
ME: No, sorry.
CASHIER (to two customers behind me): Do you have change?
(One of them hands her two tens. The transaction is complete)

Except it isn't. I open the box there and then, taking out the wires and testing the earphones with my ipod. The earphones are the fleshy, rubbery kind that go around the earlobe with a round speaker that fits inside the lobe. Except they don't. They don't fit my ears (normal ears by all accounts) and don't adjust. I show the cashier and her undersecretary. They watch me as I demonstrate the problem. Two or three times I attempt to fit them into my ears to no avail.

ME: They don't fit.
CASHIER: There is no sound?
ME: There is sound but they don't go in my ear. You try.

The cashier tries and they fit her ears. She hands them back to me and smiles, as if to say my ears are the problem.

ME: Can I get my money back?
CASHIER: Take the box and go to customer service.

After filling out a form, signing my name and handing the box to the clerk with receipt, I am given a voucher, to be taken to another cashier for retrieval of my 8,500 shillings. I hand the voucher to the cashier after waiting in line for a British couple to buy three hideous looking candles and a dust mop. The woman looks like a cross between Jim Broadbent and Barney Rubble.

CASHIER: Do you have two thousand shillings?
ME: (searching my wallet) Yeah, just a sec.
CASHIER (handing me back a 10,000 note): Thanks for shopping at Game!!!

(a typical conversation with people passing by my house)

I am outside hanging up laundry on the clothes line. A woman I've never seen before in my life walks by the compound slowly. She gives me the requisite triple take (it's a man, it's a white man, who is this white man?) before she pauses and turns toward me.

WOMAN: You do your own laundry?
ME: Yeah.
WOMAN: I am surprised.
ME: (chuckling) Why?
WOMAN: I thought you would be lazy.
ME: (puzzled and slightly annoyed) Why?
WOMAN: I just thought...

She starts to walk away but stops again.

WOMAN: You don't go to church?
ME: Not usually.
WOMAN: Why not?
ME: It's two hours long and I like sleeping in on Sundays.
WOMAN: That's strange. Bye.
ME: Nice talking to you.

She shakes her head as she leaves.

1 comment:

  1. Really funny! I also like the circumcision one too!
    I hope u r getting on okay.