the day stephen bought some new car insurance


Dedicating this morning to the protagonists in a series of actions that constituted the following experience recounted to me last week, and that I hope you one day go through first hand, if you have not already encountered people of this nature.

Stephen (not real name unless you actually know the guy – in which case, feel free to shell him to the high heavens) is the lazy type of gainfully employed Ugandan who will not do anything close to manual or menial provided there is a chap nearby who values a Ushs500 coin or two.

Last week on about Thursday he renewed his third party insurance by way of a loose boda-boda bound courier, and realised as he got to his home later in the night that the sticker had not been applied to the relevant part of his vehicle windscreen.

He was too lazy, as mentioned above, to reach across to the co-driver’s seat for the insurance tag and accompanying adhesive sticker, un-peel both and apply them against the glass.

The work involved would have taken almost as long as reading the above paragraph both times you did.

Instead, he went to bed, and the problem was still present when he returned to the car the next morning. By convenience, the askari was hovering nearby and ready to receive instructions to place the insurance sticker where it should be.

“Take off the old one first, then put this one there,” Stephen told him, handing over a couple of thousand shillings for the job, before going back in to do something less menial for a few minutes and generally not be in the presence of such work being done at his vehicle.

He eventually drove to the office and just as he was tossing the keys to the fellow who washes it every morning, he noticed something amiss with the newly-placed insurance sticker.

He couldn’t believe that the askari fellow had done the job so wrong, and turned to the car-washing chap to ask, “Do you see what’s wrong with that insurance sticker?”

“Yes, sir,” responded the car-washing guy, chuckling a bit at the foolishness of whoever had placed it, and quite certain that this was going to result in a revenue earning task for him.

The sticker had been placed on the windshield upside down. The words were facing downwards instead of upwards. The logo of the insurance company, which was quite recognisable even if one were incapable of making out the words by way of reading, was also upside down.

This proved both that the askari was definitely not a scholar who had fallen on hard times and resorted to that lowly occupation, and that he was not a man of simple logic. The wretched chap had probably stood by the side of the car at such an angle that he was holding the sticker upright by the time he approached the vehicle windscreen, but found himself having to turn his arm downwards in order to place it in the required spot.

Stephen shook his head in both wonder and dismay, then issued instructions to the car washing guy to fix it. And he left to get some white collar work done within the comfort of his office, surrounded by computers, internet access, coffee and biscuits and people far more sensible.

Several hours later, responding to a meeting alert about a lunch meeting at a trendy nearby cafe, he put his computer to sleep, made for his clean vehicle and was just about to set off when he noticed something else amiss.

He shot out of the car in a panic and went closer to inspect it, and couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

The car washing guy had ‘fixed it’ by pasting the insurance sticker onto the front of the windscreen, with the back of the sticker facing up top; so that if a traffic officer needed to read the sticker, he would have to push his head into the car to see the details thereon.

Stephen was flummoxed. He could not understand how the car washing guy had never noticed in all these years that the stickers are placed under the windscreen with the details facing outwards. He also could not work out why the guy had not noticed that this was the case with the other, older car insurance sticker that was still in place.

And by the way, hadn’t he told the askari to first remove the old sticker and then replace it with the new one?!!!

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