Sunday, February 21, 2010

How much is that chicken in the freezer, the one with the .....

Well, there's this sort of wholesale place here but there again not really wholesale and their logo is 'we give birth to prices and others raise them'...and no it's not Mothercare. Anyway, my Mum is here and she is keen to get the full shopping experience and has overheard Merlyn (my wonderwoman help) saying we should buy our meat here so here I am forfeiting the equivalent to the M&S Foodhall (ok, never in a million years I know) to Lidl's long distant cousin.

So, here's the setting - 20 x 20ft room, strange tardis like cash desk to your left, huge freezer to your right, small table in the middle with slightly bloodied scales on and then a veritable line up of pen pushing staff on the left hand side. These guys well about 5 women and 1 guy are all very busy writing out invoices with lots of carbon paper and making no eye contact at all. Anyway, I have been here long enough now to not let the no eye contact ruse deter me. So, I grab a guy who's stacking up boxes and say 'Gimme a chicken'. Ok, I don't really say this but this is what I want to say but instead I say:-

Please can I have a couple of chickens?

Yes, what size?

I don't know (Dominican chickens are all one size, trust me). Just give me a couple please, I don't mind.

So, he opens the freezer which has about a foot of frost in it and then a jumbled collection of EVERYTHING - fish, chicken, hams, feet - ok trotters, and lots of things I definitely can't recognise. Anyway, I don't know whether to be helpful and prod around with him or just hold the top of the freezer up. I opt for the latter because I don't want to spot an eye or a nostril. I should actually be vegetarian - in fact if Eric (of Red Rock Haven fame) could cook for me everyday I would be, albeit I'd always make him do chocolate pancakes. Anyway, after lots of digging around, helpful man says:-

Only got one.

That's fine, one will do. How much is it?

I'll have to weigh it.

So, lots of weighing and shouting to one of the girls on the far left side. Is it me or is frozen chicken a lot heavier than fresh. Anyway, it's 25 bucks so I say fine and try and take it. Oh no, I can't do that. I have to go and get the invoice from Lady A. So, I stand there patiently waiting for the carbon copies to be suitably pressed and then I hear the most (ok, along with 'do you understand?') annoying expression here 'Let me tell you'. So, making no eye contact (I'm learning) I ignore this. However, this is followed by perfectly manicured tapping nails on the desk and a slightly louder 'Let me tell you, you can't buy one chicken'. You know what, I didn't even want to buy one chicken, I wanted to get my usual $18 dollar chicken in IGA and queue up and pay for it and leave and have a quiet life. So, now I'm apologising for buying one chicken when all that's in the freezer is ONE CHICKEN. So I look pathetically grateful and hand her my money. No, way too easy, she doesn't take money. So I look to the obvious cash desk that's all enclosed with a glass counter. No, way too easy too. Instead, more tapping and gesticulating from the man three along who has clearly lost his vocal cords. I give him the invoice and the money and of course there is no change. So, I edge towards my chicken which is now nicely defrosting on the crusty scales and am about to pick it up when money man finds his voice 'You must have a bag and take your invoice first'. So I skulk back to get my invoice and then back to the scales. Helpful man finds a bag but won't hand it over until I give him the invoice. Finally, I grab my $25, certainly not wholesale price chicken and leave. Never again. Well so I thought, as Mum pipes up tonight 'I saw a big bag of prawns in there you know, I think we should get them tomorrow'. Umm, well maybe more than one prawn in the bag qualifies for wholesale....maybe.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Parking Ticket

So, I got my first parking ticket this week. Well, it was only a matter of time - I park too close to corners and sort of breathe in as I am nudging my car as close to the one in front as possible. Then I feel a bit guilty so I sit in my car for a bit to double check that cars can get around the corner that I may have just parked a tad too close too.

So later on I get back to the car and have made someone who is most certainly not a policeman very happy who is there waiting to give me my ticket in case it had blown away from under the wipers. Maybe he's on commission. So he is expecting a big scene and I give him a big smile and admit that when your time's up your time's up. He didn't really understand that comment funnily enough.

Off to the Magistrate's Court I go as why wait the 14 days. Expecting some long slow painful process I am pleasantly surprised when I open the door to the Cashier's Office and no-one is there. The room is something out of Dickens - stacked full of ledgers and papers and everything slightly tilted and wonky and you know at a glance that once something enters this room, it will never ever be found again.

Hello, I've come to pay this'. (passing over my ticket)

'Why?' She says which completly throws me. Why? Well I don't know really really why but I guess it's because I should and it's the right thing to do.

'Umm, because I parked too close to the edge'.

'No, why do you want to pay it today? When did you get it?' She then spots that I got it at 11.20am and now it's 11.30am and she starts sort of shaking every part of her body and then says....

'You don't have to pay it you know, it hasn't been submitted. Why don't you come back in a few weeks time and check again?'

'Check what?' I say, knowing that nothing can ever be double checked in this place again. It would be the ultimate miracle if my A5 sized original ticket ever surfaced again let alone got matched with the possibly submitted one.

'I think I'd just like to pay it now please'.

'As you liking (sic) but I have to tell you now that you really don't have to'.

'Well, I guess it's going to a good cause isn't it?'
(Maybe filling a pothole or two).

Now, she looks at me as if I've gone loopy loo.

'A good cause?'

I realise that there's no point going down this line of conversation afterall so I hand over my $100 and wait for my $25 back.

'Well, I don't want to have to pay $500 in a few weeks time if my papers are all miraculously matched up', I say and she knows she is not going to stop some strange woman insisting on her taking $100 however hard she tries to desist her.

'I don't have change - well I have $20 and $5'.

'Well, I gave you $100 and the change should be $25 so $20 + $5 is right', I gently explain.

'No, the $5 is mine, so you owe me $5'.

'Ok, don't worry, you can just give me $20 and you can keep your $5 no problem'.

'No, I have to give you the right change'.

'Well, when do you want me to bring your $5 back then?' (Will this turn into some increased fixed penalty too if I wait too long I wonder)

'In a few weeks time, will be fine (being the operative word)......Good Day'

Is it me or is my fine now really $80?.