The last few days have been interesting – I could write a whole book about them – but I’ll focus on our TV-buying adventure for now. We went to a store called ‘Game,’ the big box store here. We looked at a few options and then they told us about a TV license. What?! So we asked how to get it and they said we had to go to the post office. We didn’t have time that day because we were on Jon’s lunch break so we went the next day. We stood in line, were told to fill out a long form, got back in line, paid R265 (~$18), and went back to the store.
We finalized our TV (and our cable box at the same time) and thought we had everything ready to go. Oh no no. They went to the back for what I think was an hour, came back and said that the license doesn’t update in real time and they need to issue another license number just for this transaction. But the license number would stay the same, ultimately, and not to worry – we didn’t have to pay the fee again. (Ummkay.) Jon and I stood, transfixed, in front of the display for the new Samsung Ultra HD TV with the supersonic music playing. I think that was 20 minutes but I really have no idea. We were both in a daze and rethinking our whole lives. Finally, they came back, said it was all set and we took the TV to the front. Then, the following happened:
- They took the TV out of its box, looked at each accessory, plugged it in, made sure everything was there and then spent 10 minutes putting it back in the box.
- They went to the back for 20 minutes to get a sticker for the box that they needed.
- The security gal checked all of the paperwork.
- Another guy checked over the checking of the paperwork.
- We put it in our cart and rolled out of the store after a few more people from the store looked at us and our paperwork.
I heard no less than four people say out loud, “They have a TV!” I was sure we were going to get mugged for it. (And it wasn’t anywhere close to the biggest one there!) I was just gobsmacked. One of our friends said that it’s possibly easier to buy a gun in the U.S. than buy a TV here and I would believe it. Welcome (again) to Africa!
– By Naama
p.s. On a totally unrelated note, the lemon sorbet here is delightful.