You know what I hate…(the 2nd in a series)

I enjoy driving in general. I could drive non stop for days. Despite the heavy traffic we experience here in South Africa. I do find a good long drive very therapeutic.

However, I am finding this a less and less enjoyable experience these days, and its no longer simply because of the life shortening experience of sharing the road with Taxis. There is another irritation that is quickly pushing me to complete meltdown.

One day…just one single day…I would love to be able to take a drive and not be hassled by someone trying to sell me something at a special price, or giving someone all the litter in my car for free for all my small change, or be forced to dodge blind man walking down the middle of the road.

This is the world I want to live in.
Seems simple enough doesn’t it? But our rapid decline into a third world won’t allow me such pleasure.

No, no, instead I’ll be forced to be riddled with guilt for not wanting to take a free lighter (only ten bucks for 3). Or not being able to donate money to the struggling blind musician….on every corner for the next 5 blocks.

Now, our street vendors are not like those fun loving hot dog vendors you would find on a New York pavement (*enters flashback mode….sigh*), our “street vendors” are far more intrusive than that.

I’m all for newspaper vendors, these guys are providing a service of which people actually benefit from: the daily news. Even pamphlet distributors can pass (depending solely on their attitude of course), I don’t mind throwing out a mountain of pamphlets from witch doctors services to car tune up, if they are handed out in the right spirit.

BUT!

On any given day of driving in Johannesburg, you will be forced to contend with a selection of the following, standing directly in the road, forcing you to swerve, break suddenly or quickly (yet discretely) roll up your window:

– Pirated DVDs of the latest movies on circuit

– Battery operated toys – i.e Winnie the Poohs with real walking action, jumping bunny rabbits and my favourite, Puppies with bobbing head action. These are particularly impressive because the vendors actually give us a demonstration how quickly their rabbit can walk across the road before the traffic light changes.

– A World Globe/ Map – available in a selection of sizes, perfect for those who trying to find Carmen Sandiego whilst driving

– Stun guns – you know, because sometime when you’re headed to work, it suddenly dawns on you that you’ve left yours at home.

– Lighters : “For free chief”, and if you take one then they give you the price….seriously try it next time.

– Biltong (beef jerky) sold by vendors who proudly wear a sign saying “Please support me, I don’t do crime”….Mmm, I’m going to try that on HR tomorrow.

– Other notable items such as rubbish bags, those bricks used to scrape your heels – at least that’s what it appears they are used for by the vendors actions, model ships of the HMS Bounty, and a selection of blow-up items.

What tends to irritate me most about these “salesmen” is their aggression. I generally get more irritated with those who stick their fist in my window and ask me to bump knuckles homeboy style. I don’t drive to make friends or to start a posse…

Oh, and another thing…there are generally about four or five people at the robot selling the EXACT same goods. So let’s try figure this out…if I say no to the first three of your mates…WHY IN JAMES FRANCO’S NAME WOULD I BUY FROM THE FOURTH.

In the words of every girl I’ve asked out, “No means NO!”

Now bear (bare) in mind these are just the guys who are actually trying to sell something. So kudos for business initiative (read syndicate), but then we get those guys who simply just want money….

Another list.

– Blind Africans (usually imports from neighboring African countries), buddied up with a conniving local who guides them up and down the roads collecting change – I normally give them buttons just to test the validity of their blindness.

– Disabled children. These are my favourite. A drive through Sandton, Johannesburg, will present you of a selection of disabled children, each trying to out do each other with limps, swaggers and “deformed” joints. I used to be fooled…till I saw one knock off at 5pm, and walk around the block, straighten up, and carry on walking normally.

– Guys in wheelchairs with death wishes. Ok, now before I come across as insensitive, I understand, that having no legs seriously diminishes your chances of getting a job at the bank. But why oh why, are there so many legless wheel chair folk who insist of making a hazard of themselves by going up and down lanes in peak hour traffic! There are even some who do tricks like spinning around quicker than Michelle Kwan at the Olympics. Anyone have the balls to shout at them? Ok ok, I’ll do it.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand there is a huge problem with unemployment, economy as so forth, but surely it makes me a better person if I just ignore it and try and take care of my own first? Seriously, I just want to make it from point A. to point B. every day.

Wow…now that that’s off my chest I feel a whole lot better.
I’d most certainly go to hell for some of these comments I’m sure… but then again…this is South Africa… I may already be there….

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4 Responses to “You know what I hate…(the 2nd in a series)”

  1. Ann Says:

    2 things…where can I get a stun gun or can I give you the money?

    Second – I have an on going fascination as you know about the blind beggars.
    Where do they go afterwards
    How do they know if they are being dropped off at the correct place
    How is their wardrobe selected / determined
    Do they eat and sleep all together and if so are their buddies kept in same place or seperated (blind this way, seeing that way)
    I assume the buddies are of the same country as their blind charge
    Do they get appointed the same ‘buddy’ every day
    Or do they rotate on a daily/weekly basis
    How is their profits measured?
    Are some blind people / buddies more effective then others
    Do they get incentives
    Are the walking sticks their own
    Do they prefer certain intersections to others and if so why

    • The Burg Says:

      These are all important questions

      As far as the stun gun goes, they have them at the robots at East Rand Mall.

      There is a theory (touched on in Slumdog Millionaire) about kids that are bred specifically to be beggars and turn a profit.
      I think it does warrant further observation….perhaps Carte Blanche can do an expose if we put something in their suggestion box…

  2. Darren Symington Says:

    Once again, refreshingly honest.

  3. Burgsworld: The Essential Collection – Part 1: Rants & Opinions « Burgs World – A guide to cutting through the stupidity of life Says:

    […] You know what I hate…(the 2nd in a series) Driving on our roads is dangerous enough, but through in our street vendors and you have a new entry into this series. […]

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