There is, on occasion, nothing quite like a damned good snark. So bear with me while I continue Friday’s saga… C’mon, at least it makes a change from guinea fowl!
To cite Baino… the Goddess Vanilla has been wielding the Hammer of Thor. She has, to quote Terry Pratchett’s Nac Mac Feegles been doing some o’ the pursin’ o’ the lips, foldin’ o’ the arms, not to mention some tappin’ o’ the feets… And she has been looking for The Explanation. (This might make more sense if you’ve read Pratchett’s wonderful Wintersmith.)
I have managed, rather in the way of pulling teeth, to extract an apology from the Marketing Manager and the Centre Manager of the Blue Route Mall. The Operations Manager, however, who was the first person I spoke to (having erroneously being told by staff in the manager’s office that he was the centre manager…), was having nothing to do with any such thing that remotely resembled an apology. In fact, I rather got the feeling that if he ever ran into an apology in a dark alley at night, he’d shoot it. Then ask questions. He was adamant that when someone committed a crime it was okay and necessary to chase them through the mall and too bad if shoppers were harmed along the way. Charming.
“You don’t know what it’s like on the ground,” he assured me.
No, I don’t, nor do I care, because that ain’t my problem.
“The woman was a known criminal,” he told me, trying to defend his actions.
And this is my problem, how?
“She’d used a fraudulent card in a store,” he said.
And I should worry about this? When I can’t breathe, or sleep for coughing.
“She was carrying crystal meth.” As if this was supposed to make the guard’s actions justifiable.
“The security guard’s life was endangered,” he announced.
Well, with all due respect and I’m very sorry for the security guard, but just how is this my concern? I’m presuming when he took the job the guard realised it was a high risk position. Or had he been told he’d be helping little old ladies with their shopping trolleys? I suspect not.
“None of this is acceptable,” I snapped, “and I expect an apology!”
“Well I won’t apologise,” he said in the manner of all small boys who’ve just broken granny’s favourite vase. I suspect there might have been some stampin’ o’ the feets at that point – from him, not me. “Our actions were entirely justifiable.”
Uhuh? “And just think how justifiable they would have been if the perp had sprayed bullets instead of pepper?”
“Well, we’ve had a case of security guards being help up at gunpoint in the mall before,” he replied.
Oh charming, I’m sure. And this is supposed to make me feel better?
“Anyway,” he finally said, “I don’t see any point continuing this conversation because you’re clearly not willing to accept anything I say.”
Right on there, buster.
I had another chat with the manager of the store where the incident took place – really, really nice guy. He got onto the centre management and I got a call from the Marketing Manager – who in the way of most marketing managers actually understood the concept of customer relationship management, especially when the customer mentioned she was a freelance journalist…. She apologized and promised to talk to the Centre Manager. A few minutes later someone barked at me down the phone line… on the defensive – and the attack – reminded me rather a lot of SOF.... Really not a bright place to start. But I recognized the type, so barked back three times, snarled twice and said Centre Manager backed down to something only marginally resembling a cranky bulldog – as opposed to a slavvering pit bull or an irate guinea fowl… (she said mixing her metaphors with gay abandon).
The odd thing was, when pressed on the matter of “security protocol” he acknowledged that perpetrators should be dealt with off the premises. Hmm, what makes you think that the left hand and the right hand have never really crossed palms… Still, he offered an apology, assured me that a full investigation was underway but pointed out that incidents such as these “are part of the nature of the country we live in”, by way of wiping his hands of the whole business.
See, and here’s the thing, so long as South Africans wander around saying, “Oh well, this is just the way it is, crime happens”, crime will continue to happen. It’s complacency and acceptance like this that really pisses me off. Crime becomes the modus operandi. And then it does become my problem. I may as well just wander around with “Rob me, shoot me,” tattoed in bright colours on my forehead! Or I suppose I could just mace anyone who gives me a funny look…
Anyway, the letter to the press is written, I now just have to decide if I will achieve anything constructive by sending it.
Right, now I’m going to cease tappin’ my feet, stop pursin’ my lips - just in case someone thinks I want a kiss - and I’m going to return Thor’s Hammer. Then I’m going to wander outside to count the guineas and take some photos of flowers. Being a goddess is just so tough, I’m not sure I can keep it up.
And here he is - the real SOF, hot-footing it around the pool, seeing someone off, as usual, cranky, as ever...