Wanna bus ticket?

11 09 2007

Like just about everything in Zimbabwe at the moment, the price of bus tickets is regulated. Like just about everything that’s price regulated in Zimbabwe at the moment, people have found a way around the price regulations. I have the following information first hand from one of my foremen who went to the Eastern Highlands a couple of weekends ago.

The bus conductor does not sell the tickets but like all bus conductors he will not let you on the bus without a ticket. So on arriving at the bus stop you must make a few enquiries. A bus conductor’s assistant will soon appear and will direct you to another assistant who will sell you the ticket/s. The prices bear little resemblance to the official prices but at least the bus conductor cannot be bust (sorry, I had to do that!) for selling over priced tickets.

In a similar vein, whenever I want to buy agricultural chemicals from a company I use regularly, I am careful to introduce myself by name and company before enquiring after the chemicals or fertilizer that I want. I know the prices I am quoted are following the black market currency rate which is illegal, but I also know that I have to pay these prices or do without. If I don’t introduce myself they will very probably say they have nothing in stock. Of course this does not help me put up my prices as I deal with a substantial number of “Joe Public” who will very likely report me for increasing my prices illegally, but it does mean that I stay in business. For the meantime.


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