Saturday, February 24, 2018

Why Can't Ugandans Wait In Line?

We were 12 in the que at the check out till in the supermarket - all with laden baskets save for Muzungu Woman behind me who, had a solitary jumbo bottle of water. At my turn, I nobly let her through seeing she only had a bottle of water while, my basket was overflowing.

Ugandans Don't Like To Line Up At The Till
As she offered a polite thank you, Chap comes out of nowhere, elbows her aside and plonks two baskets at the till. Then looking round with an air of self-deluded bravado, you could almost lip read him say: “Yes, so I have jumped the que. What are you all going to do about it?”

Looking down the que at Elderly Woman and the rest, it was plainly palpable that not a murmur was going to come out of them. Naturally, the gauntlet was on me to ‘man up’ and restore order. This is how it went down. 

TB: “Excuse me sir, if you look round, there are 12 people who have patiently lined up and are waiting to be served. It would be nice if you joined the back of the line?”

Chap save for a grunt, gave me a look like I was an irritant, a fly that can easily be swatted away and continued unpacking his baskets.

Meanwhile, Till Girl like Supervisor, uncertain of what to do – to serve him or not to, apprehensively sat there waiting for that moment when time was nigh to duck behind the till in case a melee broke.

Voice raised, I once again asked him to remove himself and his basket to the back of the que and to stop being an ass. But Chap was unperturbed, so I stepped forth picked up the items he’d unpacked and hurled them to the ground followed by the basket which, was flung down one of the aisles.

Chap and I Squared Up To Each Other  Like This
This is now the part when everything goes into a meltdown and in slow motion. Chap looked at me in disbelief. I squared up in case he threw a ‘left’. Till Girl had scattered abandoning the till. Jajja, who was fourth in the que, made haste for the entrance while Supervisor simply cowered. The silence was so deftly, you could almost hear a pin drop.

With all eyes on him, he deflated his self-deluded bravado, whimpered himself to the entrance and was gone. When I walked out minutes later, a loud applause rang out which I took to mean - ‘appreciation for services rendered?’

Former Army Commander used to shop at Karungi’s, a small family store just off the Ggaba road on the way to Kawuku and would delight in rolling up in a heavily armed convoy that sealed off the supermarket. As he shopped, ADC would walk in front of him and with aid of a small stick he would poke people out of the way so he (Former Army Commander), didn’t have to que up in any of the aisles.

That practise stopped the day Bernard had a run in with him. There was just need to assure him to face that he was a mere man of little importance who is trying to be all important. For a moment after the exchange, Bernard thought ADC was going to whip out his little stick and start flogging him and he would have except, Former Army Commander weighed up the consequences and concluded it would be foolhardy.

Weeks back in the supermarket, I spied Dr Ian Clarke shopping. Seeing he’s a celebrity politician, I half expected him to flout the que and walk himself to the front. He didn’t but waited in line – like the rest of us. Hmm, there must be ‘something wrong with him’ – I don’t think he is Ugandan enough yet?

Despite Being A Celebrity Dr and Politician, Ian Clarke Waits in Line

Pictures: Daily Monitor, Star Central Magazine, Matooke Republic             

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