Ask and you shall receive.

I changed my MTN mobile phone subscription from pre-paid to post-paid recently. The technical change from pre-paid to post-paid became effective while I was abroad. A month later I was slammed with an sms informing me of a bill of 225,000 CFA. I didn’t believe my eyes as I counted the zeros in the bill to be sure it was really what it was.
I called a couple of friends in the MTN VIP service in Bastos to complain in vain. I requested a detailed bill and yes, those figures were correct.
I looked in detail and tried to check out the supposed dialed numbers. Everything seemed to fall in place. After all, machines don’t lie right? 

I decided to pay the bill to avoid suspension of my line: act and complain later. One fateful day I received a call from an MTN post-paid customer service agent. After the usual courtesies, he said he would like to know my appreciation of their post-paid services. I took a deep breath and then fired on with my story about the inflated bill etc etc. He was wise in letting talk non-stop because I would not have entertained any interruptions. At the end of my polite ranting he gave me an email address to channel my complaint to.

You bet I sent a very self-explanatory and strongly-worded email contesting the bill. The following day I received an acknowledgement receipt of my complaint. Two days later I was pleasantly informed, with apologies, that they have refunded 213,000 CFA into my account. I am planning to request a cheque because I don’t trust machines anymore. They could just deduct that money without my knowledge. What do you think?

Lesson learnt:
-          Machines are not always right. Maybe they smell the ability of customers and bill accordingly.
-          Do not bill to kill. Some customers know their rights more than you think.

The artificial scarcity of cooking gas

This is how they create artificial scarcity. My cooking gas is finished. I went to buy it this morning and the seller says he doesn't have it. I am about to leave and he tells me there is another guy who has it in limited numbers just around the corner, but I have to pay 7.000frs rather than the official 6.500frs. 

I thought about it and decided to leave. It is true I am desperate to get the gas but why should I pay more? I called one lady from whom I always buy gas. She said I should call her back in two hours to know if she already has it. I just called now and yaaaay! She has just received a huge consignment of gas. It is really about time I bought a second bottle. 

Now tell me, should I report the previous guy to the authorities? Dont forget to put your first name. Thanks!

A misinterpretation of the Law.

One fine Sunday morning, I took the kids for a walk around the big Bastos round about.  Beautiful flowers and trees grace the area.  As I approached the roundabout, I saw the big sign board with the following inscription in French: Yaoundé Urban Council Area. "Sports and leisure activities forbidden. Offenders will be punished".
I thought to myself, sports and leisure activities probably refer to physical exercises and picnics. So I confidently stepped on the lawn and approached the concrete chairs.  One police officer in the nearby police van beckoned to me to come over. I crossed the road to where he was and after introducing himself, he said in French: “Have you read the sign board?”

I said sure I have.  I added that those concrete chairs were put for a reason. I am going over there to have a walk and enjoy the flowers with the kids.  He said no no no, you can’t do that. I just stood there, blankly looking at him in disbelief.  Tell me honestly, if it was you will you go ahead and do your walk or just go home? I went home. I had no intention of spoiling my Sunday.

The power of gratitude.

I didn’t realize how serious the fuel scarcity in Yaoundé was until on my way to the office one day, I noticed I was low on gas.  I stopped by four gas stations and none had the precious liquid. I was already running late for an appointment and the gas in the car couldn’t take me right to my destination. One of the gas stations had it but they didn’t have electricity.  I decided to call my friend who works in the maintenance unit of the electricity corporation, AES-Sonel, to know which parts of town had electricity. He said the Tsinga and Madagascar neighborhoods.  So I headed that way.
Arriving Tsinga, I went to the first gas station. No gas. Second, third. Same story.  As I headed towards the Mokolo neighborhood, I started saying to God, “Thank you for the fuel, thank you for the fuel…”. As I said this, I made sure I felt the feeling of having the fuel already.  The gratitude resounded in my very being. As I drove on, I almost started doubting if there really was a gas station on that street but something kept telling me to keep driving. I knew the more I drove in the wrong direction, the more likely it was for the car to stop completely if the gas got finished completely. I actually saw a couple of people with gallons going to buy gas, probably because their cars stopped on them.
Behold, barely one minute after I started expressing my gratitude to God for the fuel, I saw a Tradex gas station. From the number of bike riders and cars lined up, I could tell they had both fuel and electricity! I smiled and took my turn in the shortest queue, opened my wallet and emptied it to get the fuel. I tipped the guy who served me. This, my friends, is the magical power of gratitude. I do the same for parking spaces. And 90% of the time I either find one or someone pulls out for me to get in, sometimes a couple of minutes after I arrive.
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