I have to vent today…venting keeps me sane and stress free.
The folks who know me best, know how much I hate when my fruit basket is empty. I love fruits and will eat fruits all day and nothing else if I can. For the past two years, I have been living on and off in Jamaica, and there is a particular marketplace I patronise frequently.
There is this one lady who sells the freshest fruits (though her prices are higher than most), but I always support her because she does have the best produce. It’s like Winn Dixie & Publix supermarkets in Florida. Publix is more expensive, but hey, you get what you pay for.
For those who are not familiar with the currency in Jamaica, $1 US is now worth approximately $150 JM, (who knows what it may be next week).
I walked up to her stall recently, and as usual it was laden with the creme of the crop. I wanted everything. She had all my favorites laid out; East Indian mangoes, papaya, sweet sop, ripe bananas, plantains, tomatoes, jelly, coconut, pumpkin, roast breadfruit, june plum, etc etc etc, and pears aka avocados.
She smiled when she saw me and gave me the usual big time Jamaican greeting: “good morning baby girl. Wha gwaan pretty? You out early this morning though. Mi glad fi si yu ’cause mi have everyting yu want!” I smiled and returned a greeting and proceeded to look around. My eyes were full, and I wanted a bit of everything. Since she was selling tomatoes to the lady who was there before me, I looked around and waited patiently for my turn.
On a crate in front of me were a few dozen pears (avocados), I felt one and it was hard. I asked her if she had any ripe ones (sighting the hot roasted yellow heart breadfruits), and to my disappointment she said, ‘no!’ I turned to check out the mangoes and my bag hit one of the pears and it fell on the ground. It didn’t fall far as it was sitting on a crate, about what…maybe two feet from the concrete.
She was still haggling with the woman who wanted more tomatoes for her $100, as I stooped to pick up the fallen fruit. Mi r**tid………before I could touch it this woman…the vendor…the one who I spend at least $3,000 with two to three times EVERY WEEK screams, “ha…if yu drop it yu buy it eno, if yu drop it yu buy it!” Then she punctuated that with, “AWOE!” For those who don’t understand “awoe”…this woman was basically saying, “pay for the pear, OR ELSE!”
The woman with the tomatoes stepped back and looked at me sorta shocked, because this woman was really carrying on. I looked at her and laughed as I put the pear back because I honestly thought she was joking. When she snatched the pear up and shoved it in my hand and yelled, “yu a buy it!” I realized Broom Hilda wasn’t playing. In the calmest voice I could muster, holding the pear I asked, “are you serious?” to which she responded, “yes mi serious! Yu haffi pay fa ’cause once pear drop dem nuh good again!” I was raised in Manchester, country girl, run dung hog, cow, goat, pick and pick up pear and breadfruit offa tree and off the ground so I knew this woman was going overboard with this nonsense.
I looked at her and said, “pear drop offa tree all the time and wi eat dem, suh how yu mean once it drop it nuh good? If yu want a pear sale say so, but there is no need for all a this!” I said calmly. “Well yu a pay fi it and a $250 it cost!” While she was saying that, she was busy placing the pear into a scandal bag, handed it to me with her right hand, and had her left hand outstretched for the $250.
The tomato lady had one hand over her mouth, the man next door selling the plants could be overheard telling his customer, “a why Joyce a deal wid the lady suh? She love money to much. A nuff money da lady deh spen wid har a week time!” The jelly man behind me said, “Joyce how yu a gwaan suh? All last week when sun a bun yu the same ooman pay fi a jelly and ask mi fi gi yu!”
In her outstretched hand I placed the $250. She took it and said, “no hard feelings mi fren. A suh business guh!” I took the bag with the pear while staring her dead in the face and asked the tomato lady, “pardon me, would you like a pear?” “Yes man” she said all enthusiastic… “of course mi want the pear!” So I gave tomato lady the pear. The vendor lady now looks at me and said, “nuh feel nuh way, please. Mi know you want yu mango dem and mi have the yellow heart breadfruit wha mi know yu like!” This woman while saying this had the nerve to be picking up East Indian mangoes ($250 each), and placing them in another scandal bag. I looked at her and asked, “who is that for?” “Fi you…nuh your regular ting dem ya” she remarked with a big cheesy grin. I was so calm when I said, “it’s okay…I won’t be needing anything else from you” and calmly walked away.
I walked all the way home before I realized I should have at least stopped at another vendor for mangoes. It’s one thing to be pissed, but it hurt more after arriving home, passing all those delicious fruits and because I was so taken aback, I had none. Fruit basket was still empty.
So yeah…I said all that to say this: don’t ruin business or personal relationships over money. Don’t let the love of money be your downfall. It’s a sad pitiful situation. The world is in a terrible state, and the licky licky behavior I see sometimes here in Jamaica (and other places) is sickening. Some reading this might not get it, and it may be nothing in their eyes but I don’t care…a big big sup’n to me. She will never see a dollar from my pocket ever again…and it bun mi, cause a she sell the sweetest mangoes.
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