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Adventures in Shopping

May 7, 2016

The other day my flatmate and I set out after school to buy a small table and chairs for our house. When I moved in there wasn’t much furniture in the house (and there still isn’t.) There were three chairs, of sorts, and that was it!! No table and chairs for eating, no couches, nothing. We’re living pretty “Fijian” here I guess? Anyway, we finally went to buy something so at least now we have a place to eat. I had seen a cheap (that term is so relative, it was the equivalent of $150 USD and back home I wouldn’t even pay 50 bucks for this thing!

But things are EXPENSIVE here, and this we could afford) table and chairs at a store in town, so we went to buy it. While there I also bought a small bookshelf (again it cost more than I’d normally pay) so I could at least have some sort of furniture in my room. The purchasing of these items, alone, was an adventure, but not nearly as much of one as the delivery of those items.

When we bought these items it took 3 people to ring up the items, and one to keep running up and down the stairs to get the prices so the clerk could ring them up. Then it took all of them to interpret the directions to our house (and they still got it wrong when they actually came to deliver.)

Day of delivery: They told me they would call ahead of time to make sure we were home (since we’d be at school all day) but as I was walking home from school I got a call saying “deliveryman is already there.” We actually had about FOUR phone calls between us in the time it took me to finish walking home. He’d say something, I wouldn’t understand, he’d hang up, I’d call back. The whole phone call process was ridiculously funny. When I finally got home, I saw the delivery truck turning onto our street (from the street where he’d driven while trying to find our house – he’d driven past and made a wrong turn.) Three men jumped out and started unloading our table and chairs. The man carrying the table kept banging the table legs into the fence and doorjamb. I actually stopped him and helped him turn the table sideways and carry it through the door since he kept trying to get it to fit and kept hitting the legs. I couldn’t believe the careless way they treated the table! My flatmate later told me they are careless like that with everything. That’s why things always get broken in the moving process here. =(

After they brought the table and chairs in, they went out to get my bookshelf. When they brought it in, I saw that the top part was pulling away from the back part of the shelf. Granted this is not a nice piece of furniture, but I didn’t want to start out with it broken already. So I asked them about it, since it hadn’t been broken when I saw it in the store. (After seeing how they treat things here, it’s no wonder it broke). They tried to tell me that it could be easily fixed by tightening a screw in the shelf. It was so comical I almost laughed. The screw was nowhere near the problem area! I might not be mechanically inclined but I DO have common sense. They insisted that would fix it and asked me for a screwdriver. I went and got one for them, and watched as they were not able to fix it, obviously. Then they tried to tell me it was a different part that needed to be tightened. Well, they tried that and it didn’t work either. I was kinda stunned that three men were honestly trying to “fix” something in such a wrong way. Maybe they thought the (not so) dumb white lady would fall for it? Uh, nope, sorry. When they (obviously) couldn’t fix it, and I insisted I either wanted a new one or my money back, they told me they would bring a new one on Saturday (this was on a Wed). I thought that was intriguing, since I hadn’t seen any other bookshelves that size in the store. And here, what you see on the floor is what you get. There is no backroom full of stock. And often stores look a bit like yard sales with what is out on the salesfloor. It’s odd, honestly. But I figured ok whatever and waited until Saturday (today).

Well, why I thought this day would turn out differently, I don’t know, but thank goodness I didn’t have my heart set on getting that bookshelf because…I didn’t get it. But they did try to deliver it again. THE SAME ONE. Only this time it looked WORSE. You guys, I don’t understand people here. WHY on earth would you bring me the same bookshelf that I sent back? And bring it back looking even worse? That boggles my mind. I guess I give people too much credit here, but honestly…..

When the guy started to pull it out of the truck, I noticed the crack right away and pointed it out. It was a new delivery guy, I think, but I definitely recognized the driver, and when he got out, he was kind of apologetic like “we don’t have any more so you can have your money back.” I was wondering why on earth they didn’t just say that on the phone when I called this morning, instead of just saying “We’ll deliver after 4.” So I said thank you and they put it back in the truck and left. And I walked away laughing in disbelief.

Some days I just don’t understand this place. Like, every day.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2016 6:28 am

    Hahaha, this is shopping in the developing world. No inventory, no guarantees, no service, no sense. Kinda sucks, but makes for great stories! I’ve got a million customer service nightmare stories from life in Uganda as well. Keep writing!

    • May 13, 2016 12:13 am

      Yes, definitely. It’s one of the downsides to living overseas, but it DOES keep life interesting, ha.

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