Petrol

A few weeks ago, on one of those Joburg nights so cold that one would only choose to leave the house if it were absolutely necessary, I found myself queuing to buy a lotto ticket in a petrol station behind a man whose errand was so bizarre that he must have been mentally ill. He was holding a two-litre bottle of Coke, a small amount of which had already been drank.

Cashier – “You want to buy just that?. Is that all? No petrol?”
Man – “I already bought it. I want to bring it back.”
Cashier – “What?”
Man – (trying to force the bottle through the security glass) “Look!”
Cashier – “No! Stop that.”
Man – (seeing the futility of his action and giving up) “I’ve got the receipt.”
Cashier – (sensing a way out) “You must speak with my manager.”

With that he directed him to the other window, from where I was able to make out the following dialogue.

Cashier – “Where did you buy this Sir?”
Man – (brandishing his receipt in one hand and his bottle in the other in a threatening manner) “18th February.” (few months ago) “I don’t want it. I’ve got the receipt.”
Cashier – (struggling to hear through the security glass and probably not knowing what to say) “Eh? I don’t understand.”
Man – (louder) “I said I don’t want it.”

His apparent ignorance of the terms and conditions of consumerism was matched by the continued bafflement of the cashier. As I left, the man was pressing his receipt up against the glass as though that would explain everything. It had the makings of a long stand-off.

For all i know, they may still be there.

By Khaya



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