Thursday, 13 August 2009

I’m watching you...

I don’t have a sweet tooth, mine is a whole set of sweet teeth; and the strawberry milkshake made at Creamy Fiesta, inside Barcelos at the Mall has become one of my favourite sweets. I can’t go to the Mall without getting one. I go there quite a bit, so I have gotten acquainted with the sales people. I have also noticed a white, busybody supervisor, or manager (who sometimes talks to her employees quite rudely; but I know how annoying Ghanaian employees can be).
I was painfully denied my indulgence on three separate occasions with the silly, flimsy excuse that their Milk was finished. (Hello, is Shoprite no longer in the building???) I was very upset, like an addict craving her sugar high. Surprisingly, each time that they run out of milk, madam was nowhere to be found. So I asked of her and her employees had nothing nice to say.
This weekend I finally got a hold of her, and we had a chat. I’m still not sure if she was patronizing me, but she was very polite; promised to look into it, assuring me that she would try to make sure (and revealed that they have their own suppliers of milk, not Shoprite). So far so good...but I’m keeping my eye on them all

Creation of Employment opportunities: Proof readers NEEDED

Dot your ‘I’ and cross you ‘T’s was simply how kids were taught to pay meticulous attention to detail. I think a hiplifer should be encouraged to make this into a song, because even adults have forgotten it.

I have a very long list of published avoidable mistakes; seems journalists have been given poetic licence (that is a justifiable departure from conventional rules of form, fact, logic, etc., as in poetry) Imagine the Ghanaian Times misspelling ‘CANAL’ as ‘CARNAL’ in a headline. That word is not used lightly. On TV the presenters use wrong expressions and constructions. Road signs and adverts are full of mistakes. There’s a sign at the Opeibea House traffic light, atop a Sony advert which reads ‘LIBRATION RD’. It is left to you to assume its meaning. Most probably ‘LIBERATION RD’, or perhaps, as a friend suggested ‘LIBATION RD’. Even on facebook, people’s posts and status messages are full of mistakes. Avoidable ones. It seems the standard of written (and spoken, for that matter) English is just going down the drain. The Nigerians will soon be able to make fun of us (lol). I’m not an English princess, but since Ghana has...had a reputation for correct use of the English language, I think it is cause for concern. If we have decided we don’t want a foreign language anymore, we might as well choose a local one and inform the international community of our decision instead of crucifying this one.


This heading is misleading, because I am thinking along the lines of a decorated donkey is still an ass...let me explain.
I have been wondering if Ghana Telecom was equivalent to Twi, and has merely been translated into English, that is Vodafone. I am wondering because their service is pretty much the same. Or is it expectations that are getting in the way?? Honestly with GT, we learnt not to expect much so we wouldn’t be disappointed, but with the arrival of (trumpeting and fanfare, please) Vodafone (applause) we expected...well, much better service.
I do not use their mobile service. I remember the price my father had to pay for his number when they started and I have kept that impression since then...for the Big Boys only. I do however, live in a house with a GT landline. I have been forcibly appointed as the custodian of this line [my dad’s ‘ingenious’ ploy to lower his bills]. So when our landline went out of order it fell on me to report it.
I drove to the GT office, after calling directory assistance (bet you didn’t know it was there) for a number where I could report a fault, and no one picked up. On the first day, a Friday, a very nice lady reported the fault for me. I remember thinking how nice the office looked, and how committed they all seemed. I felt bad about the 900 or 950 who were being laid off too. They promised that the fault would be fixed that very day.
It wasn’t. The weekend was spent landline-less. My parents’ relatives who live abroad expressed their displeasure about having to call cell phones.
On the Monday, I made my second trip. That day I paid my bill too, hoping it would motivate them to fix the line faster. At the office the two young men at that desk had fun flirting with me, and asking me why I didn’t use their mobile phone network. I pouted, smiled...we all played a nice game. Naive me, for thinking that after the good time I showed them, they would follow up for me. They merely used me for their pleasure :(
The third time, I was no longer in the mood for games. With a very straight face I reported my problem, indicating that this was the third time I was being assured that it would be fixed that day. A man, I assumed was a supervisor, came over and did I check only to tell me that the problem had been recorded as resolved. I started to ‘charge’. Quickly, he directed me to another office, dedicated to faults. I marched over there to the manager of that division’s office. Very curtly I stated my problem. [The whole time he was playing with his phone, proceeded to make a call, share a joke, and have some laughs, before asking me to restate my problem]. I sighed dramatically; about to launch my speech, again I was interrupted. This man seemed to be a supervisor of sorts. He called the manager to a back office, where they checked the number of faults that had been reported since morning. The supervisor got very upset, and asked all the technicians to be called back and ordered that all 90 faults should be fixed before the end of the day (It was 3o’clock.)
The manager returned, finally listened to me, and assured me that the fault would be fixed. [Heard it all before...I sang in my head]
Miraculously that evening the phone was working. Three cheers, hip, hip, hip....
Ah but me bre ye. I wonder if I could ask for compensation or my fuel back. There doesn’t seem to be so much difference between Vodafone and GT. At least not yet, so maybe it is just a translation from local Ghanaian inefficiency to foreign Ghanian-like inefficiency...

Waakye blues aka Classic Ghanaian Moment

This is dedicated to all who have experienced it.

I woke up ravenously hungry one morning, craving waakye. The venerable house-help had left for work already, so there was no one to send. I set out to go and buy my food. I had not had a bath, I just wanted to get my food, come back home and eat it, all things would follow after that.
On the face of it, there were six people in front of me. In Ghana, meeting six people in front of you doesn’t mean anything. There are usually ghost names on the register, easily numbering twice as much. They materialize when it is their turn. No problem.
At the front of the queue, a woman was buying. In my opinion she was taking long, but the veterans in the queue hadn’t complained, how could I, Johnny Just Come, complain? No problem
After buying (and changing her order a few times), she took out a list. Aha! That got the members worried, and they started to grumble. Problem! She ignored everyone and continued buying. My tummy rumbled in protest, but no one heard because they were grumbling. Why did this happen so often to me kraa? A number of orders later, she turned the paper, and requested that these ones should be in packs. ‘Kai’ exclaimed one ‘Alhaji’ and he stomped off in a huff, into his 4x4 Lexus and sped off, ignoring the waakye seller’s pleas to stay. She didn’t take a cue to institute a bulk buying queue there and then oh. The wholesaler had the good grace to be embarrassed, but she didn’t stop buying. Instead she justified it saying she has gotten there first, besides it wasn’t her fault; she was buying it for her office colleagues who were in a training session and couldn’t leave the office.
Two men, discouraged, left. Ok, 3 down. My patience amazed me; I must have been very hungry. Finally she finished buying and left. 2 people in front of me were served. Yipee, my turn. Not so fast! A man appeared out of nowhere saying he was ‘in front’ of me, but he wasn’t alone. He places his orders. My tummy protesting loudly; but my mouth was saving its energy for better things.
The waakye seller then announced that her rice was finished.

picture credit: waakye group on facebook