I was at a take-away restaurant in Bugolobi one afternoon, eager to order chips and liver to go. This is a restaurant I usually sit and eat in but today I was in a hurry.
“Chips and liver to go”, I politely said.
When they handed me my bill, it had an additional 1000 shillings for the ‘take-away’ box. Customer service had started I see. I took a few deep breaths because I could feel my temper degeneration ensuing.
“Why are you charging me for this box?” I asked.
“Because that’s how much it costs”, the server explained.
“No”, I educated him. “That is not how much it costs. You can buy a ton of these things for 10,000 shillings. Now I’m asking you again. And I want a serious answer. Why are you charging me 1000 shillings for this box?”
“Because when you take away food, you pay for the box”, he was much more clear now.
I was glad to prepare to be clearer. I stepped out of the restaurant and, with my phone, took a picture of the sign outside. I came back in, and showed it to him.
“This says ‘Take-Away’ restaurant”, I showed him the sign. “Why are you charging me for actually taking food away?”
“Madam!”, he was now getting angry. “This is our policy. When you want a box, you pay for it”.
“Ssebo!”, I was just as tart. “I want you to open this box and throw all this food right back into those big open saucepans behind you because I’m not paying you for providing a service you have a signpost advertising!”.
“It’s only 1,000 shillings”, he complained. “How can you be so cheap?”
“I’ve only spent 12,000 shillings on your food”, I replied. “How can you be so cheap?”
There was a brief silence in which we both glared at each other.
“I’m not paying for the box”, I asserted.
“Fine!” he snapped. “Take the food”.
Why, thank you, Sir.