Friday, January 25, 2013

Things Are Tight

Things are tight, and a dime is hard to come by. The world over, we hear and read stories of banks collapsing, pensioners having lost their savings and companies going into administration.
And the situation is no different in Uganda. Last week Ssebagala and Sons was taken by one of the banks, cars are being impounded and houses auctioned off.
With that, there is a need to tighten our belts and to cut down on our spending especially when it comes to going out. For many people including me, the kafunda culture rules. I will trawl the city looking for that kafunda that serves the cheapest beer so I can save 1k or even sh500.
And if you trawl hard enough yes, you will find that kafunda willing to flog you a beer for sh2,700 or less. But it comes with a price. There will be no toilets, a melee breaks out every five minutes and the person sitting next to you will not have had a shower in five days and thus reeks far worse than a pit latrine.
I was in the arrivals lounge at Entebbe Airport recently and we sought to have a beer in Crane Cafeteria. A beer in Crane Cafeteria goes for sh8,000 which, makes it the most expensive place in Uganda to get a beer. It even beats Speke Resort Munyonyo, Serena and Sheraton hotels.
In my kafunda on Salamma Road, I can get a beer for sh2,700 but 8k at Crane Cafeteria, this prompted a call to Uganda Breweries, and the lady tells me that all beers run off the same production line and there is no difference between a beer that costs 8k and one that costs sh2,700.
So there is no difference in bottle and taste so why is Crane Cafeteria trying to sell me a beer at 8k? There has to be a reason, a reason that makes sense and a reason that validates the 8k pricing.
Was it the ambiance? Hell no! Did they have waitresses with big bosoms and in skimpy skirts? Nope. Is their beer chilled in a fridge that has a velvet lining with Diana Ross belting out the song: “It’s My House and I Live Here” whenever the door is opened? Bleak. So what was it then?
The answer came scurrying across the bar. I think it was Papa Cockroach who came first. He popped out of nowhere, surveyed the terrain then scurried down the length of the bar. Two minutes later and Mama Cockroach, Daughter and Son Cockroach whizzed across the bar leaving two cockroaches in their wake and who, I presumed were the frail Grandpapa and Grandmamma Cockroach.
I have three witnesses – LP and SCK plus Waiter who was unmoved. He didn’t bat an eyelid but merely took it in his stride for I guess he had seen it all before. Here is the conversation.
TB: “Chief, what is it with the cockroaches, are you not seeing what I am seeing?”
Waiter: (With a ‘what’s your beef look’?) “They will fumigate.”
TB: (With a tumbavu look) “Tumbavu, you want me to drink beer for 8k in a place that is rocking with more roaches than in the slums of Kisenyi?
Waiter swung me a ‘f**k you’ look that in a flash, we were down the road to a kafunda where a lass with ‘elephantiasis legs’ and a butt that dripped of ghee from the depths Ankole that ought to have had a sticker that read: ‘Danger - wide load’ served us beer for 3k!