It is ten past nine on a Monday morning and I have reached my destination.
The Mall opens at 09:00. There are three cashiers. One pretending she is awake. One walking in her sleep and one behind her cash till is trying to wake up. I hand her my card.
‘Good morning. I would like to make a payment on my account, please.’ She stares at me. I hand her my debit card and mention the amount. She presses a few buttons. She tries again and then calls the pretender.
‘Veronica, kom kyk of jy die masjien kan laat werk. Hy wil nie ‘n payment vat nie.’ Veronica pretends she is trying. ‘Ek is jammer dame, u sal maar weer moet kom, ons is van lyn af.’
‘Look’, I say. ‘Your store is very quick to call when your clients miss an installment and you are one of the biggest chain stores in the world. I can only come back next month. If your machines are not operating, then I will have to phone your head office, informing them that it is not my fault that my installment is outstanding’.
Suddenly she is not pretending any longer and addresses the sleepwalker: ‘Jamaima, sit ‘n bietjie jou till aan en kyk of hy die payment sal vat.’
Jamaima is wide awake. Buttons are pressed and the lights start to flicker.
‘How much would you like to pay?’ I repeat the process and after less than five minutes I walk out of the door.
Mission accomplished. Now that is what one calls a rude awakening in client service!