Sunday, May 5, 2013

Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware.

Today's story takes us back to our trip to South Africa - and the Shopping Malls of Pretoria.

I am not in any position to judge, but I am sure that the shopping malls of Pretoria in South Africa are on a par with the same facilities around the world. But..........what happens when a bunch of country hicks like us "hit the Mall"? Well, obviously, chaos!

First off - everything is very clean and slick - palm trees abound and fountains splash water while music softly lulls the senses....

To my untutored eye the range, scope and extent of the goods for sale in some of the shops was simply staggering. You 'first-worlders' out there may find the following picture of just the cold meat section of a Supermarket (with bakery in the background) perfectly normal - but remember I come from a place which once had nothing but condoms for sale in the entire supermarket. Mind-blowing.

Despite all this organised vending - there are several folk with 'tables' set up in the walkways - and at one were some pretty persuasive Italians selling beauty products - at an exorbitant price. They got their hooks into my wife Della, but the smarmy Italian salesman blew his chances by telling her she 'was-a as-a beeyoootiful as-a my Momma'. She flounced off in a huff.

However - my two daughters - Cara and Dayna, and their friend Aimee, were not so lucky - and in 5 minutes he had charmed the three of them, kissed their cheeks, told them they 'were-a multo bellissima', winked at them outrageously, and made them all blush at least twice.

They all left clutching packets of creams which they neither needed nor wanted. And all their pocket money........gone.

Here - taken furtively the next day, is one of the Italians relieving some other poor doe-eyed shopper of her hard-earned cash...

This is a picture taken at breakfast the next day, featuring the three girls who splashed out all their worldly loot on some 'Dead Sea exfoliating cream' - just because a dreamy Italian gave them a kiss on the cheek and his phone number. In the background - the R1,200 purchase being waved as evidence!

Suffice to say, when I found the three of them waiting, as arranged, at a Coffee Shoppe looking ashen-faced and sweating as they considered spending the rest of their holiday without a penny between them, I marched off and returned the cosmetics to the Italians, and received a refund. Unfortunately the girls had opened one of the packets - (in the vain hope that a genie would materialise and right all the wrongs of the world for them I suspect) so I could only return two out of the three packets. Things did get a little heated, but I succeeded.

However - I leave the final say in the matter to my daughter Dayna, who stated with conviction....

"But, guys, you gotta admit.......... it was WORTH at least R1,200 to be chatted up by those guys - even if we did get ripped off!"

Ah yes - "Live and don't learn"! That's my family.

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