5 12 2009

“No I don’t want a credit note”, I said. “Maybe I don’t want to come back here”.
“Well, can I get you something?” the till operator asked.
“Yes, you can get me my change” I replied.
“But we don’t have any” came the reply.
“Well, 48c on 186 dollars is not a lot, why don’t you just take it down to 186 dollars then?”.
“We are not allowed to round it off” was the less than helpful reply.

Change in the form of coins is hard to come by in Zimbabwe (though sometimes South African rands are used as they are smaller than US dollars) so supermarkets keep boxes of small items at the checkout tills to make up the value to a round number but I was really tired of being offered ball point pens, sweets or chewing gum and the alternative was a credit note that I would almost certainly lose before I came back for another purchase.I’d also been driving around the industrial sites of Harare all day and about 10% of the traffic lights I’d been through had been working so the rest required nerve and good luck and along with the pothole doging I found it all very tiring. On top of it all my knee was giving me hell and that always makes me tetchy. They’d got me on a bad day. Tough. I was not giving in and was quite prepared to leave the vacuum cleaner at the till and walk out.

“Well then, tell the people who programme your computers to make sure everything is valued to the nearest dollar – you can do ANYTHING with computers. I know, I programme my work computer!”.
“What are we going to do then?” the till operator said avoiding a reply.
“WE are not going to do anything. Do YOU want this sale?”.
“Then call the manager” I replied moving away from the till as though I was about to abandon the trolley with the box in it. I was fed up and on the verge of walking out.

The manager made an appearance, tapped at the keyboard and I was given the vacuum cleaner for $186.



One response

10 12 2009
Big Blister

What, the govt can’t mint USA coins…!

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