‘They just lost a sale,” my wife remarked as we walked out of a Musica shop. I was looking for some replacement headphones for my running MP3 player and wanted to see how big they were.
No can do, said the apologetic assistant: these Skull Candy phones cannot be removed from the box unless you buy them. No demo set. No way to see the size. So, what that assistant saw was our backs.
Just around the corner, we popped into a Totalsports shop. I was looking for socks, but apparently only tiny runners shop there, because there was nothing in stock for size 10 and above. Another sale lost.
Our final stop was at the MTN shop, where the assistant advised me how to go about dumping Vodacom for them and how to port my number. When I do that, it will end a relationship with Vodacom going back 20 years.
And I realised, as we drove home, that the retail space is a true democracy. You let me down, I vote with my credit card.
But with just under two months to go to one of the most crucial post-1994 South African national elections, it’s not quite that simple … especially if you’re, like me, a mature, somewhat liberal white voter. We might be a minority but we’re an important one and seldom have we been so confused about the offerings in front of us on the ballot paper.
The flavour-of-the-month suggestion from the cappuccino-swigging northern suburbs set is that we should “vote for Cyril” rather than his ANC. That, of course does not translate to anything other than backing the ANC anyway, but this lot loves people and grand gestures – and, of course, most of them “have lots of black friends …”
This theory goes that it is better to help Cyril get the best possible victory, to deprive Julius Malema and his EFF cohort from bursting through the walls of our suburban complacency.
But can I vote for an organisation whose members display watered-down anti-white racism; who love places like Venezuela and who have looted a trillion rand? And, lest we forget, Cyril was part of the leadership during that looting.
There’s a certain logic to a vote for the ANC, though: the EFF is going to do a lot better than many experts predict and, imagine how much more trouble they will cause, given they already exert far more influence than their 10% support would suggest.
So, what about the DA? They could always be relied upon to do the right thing: promote real democracy and liberal values – live and let live and true equality, as well as the free market – but lately have been sounding more like the ANC every day. Maybe that’s because they have to, to win over black voters. Also, they have slipped easily into bed with the EFF to defeat the common enemy of the ANC.
The difference between a headless chicken and the DA is simple: at least you can stick the chicken on a braai and have supper…
What about Cope? Terror Lekota used to dop with journalists like me at the Yard of Ale in downtown Joburg in the ’90s. Nice guy? Yes. National leader? No.
Bantu Holomisa is possibly the most sensible politician in the country today … but his UDM is tiny.
Democracy is not for sissies…