Friday, 21 January 2011
Yesterday at the fruit market I saw some delicious watermelons.
"Are these good ones?"
"Oh yes Madam...very good"
"Are you sure? Last time you sold me some and they were rotten inside."
"No Madam...these ones very good...very cheap. You take two?"
I take two.
I go home, cut them open, and...they're rotten. (sigh)
In a lot of ways that sums up India. Major problem with quality control. That is why you will sometimes find ants in the sugar bowl, flies in your cornflakes, and buy something only to have it break apart minutes later (like the mickey mouse on Egg's newly purchased 'Crocs' last night - for a fiver).
I had dragged Egg into a roadside stall to purchase him new (fake) 'Crocs' after his old (authentic) ones were lost on the beach (the graveyard to most of his hats and footwear this past year). I had an amusing back and forth exchange with the owner until I succeeded into bullying him into a fair price (just stopping short of getting Egg to recite some Hindi words to prove we weren't 'tourists'). I could have hammered him down further, but got distracted by his adorable baby daughter toddling around wearing comical over sized sunglasses, and realising he was a family man...softened.
Then of course we got home, Dumpie tried them on, and the Mickey Mouse decal promptly broke off. Didn't feel so bad after that.
Though sometimes they take things too far here. At our local Baskin Robbins (a weekly indulgence) I never fail to become amused by the sight of the counter staff popping our cones onto a little scale to ensure that not even an extra gram of ice cream gets mistakenly doled out to a greedy Westerner (a local would have to think twice about parting with 80pence for a cone). Talk about meticulous.
If only my fruit stall fellow could employ even a fraction of this meticulousness and stop stacking his shelves full of deceptively green but internally rotting melons. It would mean that I would probably stop casing the Baskin Robbins as often as I do, waiting for it to open and get my mint chocolate chip fix. And I would look less like a tourst. Which would mean I would probably stop getting quoted tourist rates when attempting to buy my child imitation Crocs at inflated prices.