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Do you really want to know what I want? Just go on and drop dead

By unknown | Jan 17, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Somebody praise me. Please!

Somebody praise me. Please!

I have discovered why many black retail businesses fail, and I didn't have to do a PhD on the subject.

It boils down to two words - bad attitude.

In just one week this month, I experienced several incidents that prove my ground-breaking discovery.

l Incident One: Inside a shop in Soweto an obese behemoth of a woman with a short fuse stands behind the counter, her fat jaws nyap-nyapping on chewing gum.

A boy aged about 10 or younger throws a couple of coins on the counter and stutters his order of sweets.

Sdudla Mafehlefehledigs her greasy banana fingers into the nearest tray of sweets and plonks a handful on the counter. The youngster protests that he does not want that brand and points to the ones he wants.

"Voetsek! I have no time to play." She ignores him and turns to me.

"Yes?" she demands.

I am at a loss for words. The little boy before me, tears in his eyes, takes the unwanted sweets and walks out.

"What do you want?" Mafutha demands of me.

"Forget it," I say and walk out to spend my money elsewhere, where I will be treated with a little respect.

l Incident Two: I enter a black-owned franchised supermarket in the Vaal. I am about the third person in the queue for fried chicken.

A green fly as big as a little bird buzzes around our heads and then heads straight to the chicken. It perches itself on the meat and starts crawling all over it.

The fly must have called out in fly language because all of a sudden more flies crawl out from underneath the meat and we, the customers, cry out in unison: "Sies!"

As we walk away, an old lady whose order was already being prepared refuses to take it and turns her back as well.

"Ag fokof," the girl behind the counter blurts out.

She is young enough to be the old lady's grandchild, but what does it matter?

Two incidents, and I paint the rest of them with the same brush? Most of them are that way, unfortunately.

I grew up in culture where the township shopkeeper, before taking all of your money, would demand: "What do you want?"

Sometimes I would want to respond: "I want you to drop dead."


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