Africa After All 4. Getting a Bum Deal

Sometimes in Africa, you will find that things are done a little differently…

My parents were visiting us in Jo’burg and detoured North to join an old family friend on a trip to Kruger and surrounds for a few days. One of their outings was to Africa Silks, a weavery and showroom with high quality, locally handwoven silk duvets and cushion covers in Graskop,  Mpumalanga.

In the shop they encountered a husband and wife, tourists, who were very interested in buying one of the duvets. However, they were concerned by its bulkiness and asked what the best way would be to get it back to wherever they were from.

“We can help you.  Would you like it packed for travelling?  It’s not a problem at all” interjected the salesman.

“Why yes indeed” said the happy couple.

He disappeared.

At this point they expected him to produce some kind of vacuum packing mechanism. There are those brilliant bags that you buy inexpensively to pack away winter/summer clothes when they are not needed. Once sealed you attach your vacuum cleaner to a special valve and it sucks out all the air. Presumably it would be something like that?

But no, we are in Africa after all. It turns out there is another way. The salesman reappeared with a female colleague who proceeded to sit on the duvet, shuffle about on her bottom, then fold the duvet, then sit, then shuffle, then fold, sit, shuffle, fold until it was vastly reduced in volume and ready to be packed in a suitcase. So simple and apparently, effective.  It gives a whole new meaning to getting a bum deal.

What’s the most unexpected way of doing something you’ve come across on your travels?

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This is one of those vacuum pack bags I was talking about.

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