Why do Mauritians tolerate unreliable tradesmen?
When I started having problems with a tap at my place, I called the landlord for him to get it fixed because the water pipe which needed accessing was behind the wall. He told me he would come along with a plumber to assess the damage on Monday. Once all inspection was done, Mr Trademen told me he would come round on Wednesday morning at 08:30am sharp. He was working in a bungalow at Albion and he would go there the following day but skip Wednesday to come to mine.
However when at 10am on Wednesday, no one was at my house, I called the landlord to see what was happening and he told me he would call me back after speaking to the plumber. The next thing I heard was the plumber would come at 12 o’clock now. I was not happy I was not informed and I made it clear to the landlord and that’s when he said “bann zouvrier kumsa mem sa, pena konfians ar zot”. So to him, the plumber can do whatever he feels like and he’s powerless to do anything. Well not me though!
I got the plumber’s number and at 11:15 I phoned him and he told me he was just about to call me (yeh, right!). He said he was at the hospital and was waiting to see the doctor (more like he was at Albion, finishing up the job he started). So I told him whether he would make it at 12:00am and he said maybe but he was not sure. I explained to him he was preventing me from doing other things and then he said if he didn’t make it before 12:30, he would come the following day at 08:00. I usually work till late at night and I don’t wake up early, so I told him he would have to come at 10:30 as I was not ready to wait for him so early in the morning one more time.
So as I imagined, he didn’t come on the day he was supposed to but rather came the next morning around 10:30. He’s done most work and had to come the following day too to finish off.
The main reason I wanted to write about this is not to complain but to point something out. I’ve had my fair share of dealing with tradesmen here in Mauritius and I’m very annoyed the way they work. However since I’m the one paying them, I lay down my rules and don’t tolerate any nonsense from them. I have nevertheless noticed a lot of Mauritians succumb to the inconsiderate workers here and accept their inefficiency as standard across the country.
Here are my thoughts why this is the way it is:
- People think they are getting the best deal with a particular tradesmen and therefore are unwilling to find someone else to do the job for fear they have to pay more
- People don’t know other persons capable of doing the job so they are stuck with that one person only
- People are lazy to go about finding potential tradesmen as it may be a time consuming process, so they put up with the worker
- People don’t want to jeopardise their relationships, so if they’ve asked an acquaintance to perform a job, they are more likely to remain quiet over a bad job
There’s a saying which says “The customer is always King” but in this country you are turned into a puppet who dances to the tune of the string holder. It’s time to wake up fellow Mauritians and reclaim your rights…
Pacific oven door exploding
The other day I was celebrating my two year olds birthday; we were all outside having a nice time when all of a sudden there was a loud bang. I ran inside to see as it sounded like something had fallen, to my horror the glass of my oven door exploded and shattered to pieces. I only purchased this oven 14 months ago and can count on one hand how many times I have used it. It has been sitting idle in my kitchen for well over 6 months.
All my guests were horrified but we were lucky that no-one was present as it could have been very serious. I am so angry that this has happened because not only is it dangerous but I am also powerless to do anything. In this country you cannot complain as nothing will get done so it literally is a waste of time.
A few of my guests have said the same thing happened to them but there is no explanation. Some people have said that maybe it’s because of the heat but my oven is completely out of direct sunlight otherwise this could’ve been a theory. There are many theories but after a little search on the internet many other people have experienced the same worldwide, the only difference is they get help with their products unlike Mauritians who have no rights!
La Friandise Kids Cake
A few months ago I started organising my two year olds birthday party; of course the cake was at the top of my list. When she turned one we had a cake made by La Friandise in Port Louis. It was a standard rectangle cake with her name on it., it was really nice and tasty so yummy. This year however I wanted an animal cake as my daughter really loves her animals. Some private bakers are asking way too much so after asking around my cousin told me that La Friandise also do non-standard cakes, all you have to do is ask them.
So off I went to visit the one in Port Louis. They said they only do a Minnie Mouse cake and that’s it for girls whereas boys have a few other choices. When I called up to order my cake they told me that I could also get a Winnie the Pooh cake or a Guitar cake, I decided to go for Winnie the Pooh, he’s a cute bear right?
When my husband brought the cake home I was horrified! The cake looked like it had been in a car crash! It was so badly done that I was so upset, I said to my husband that he should have refused that one and bought a regular one instead. Anyway luckily my daughter won’t remember this hideous cake but I always will. When it came to eating it I was even more appalled, it tasted really stale and a little hard, not as moist and soft as cakes are meant to be.
I am a little put off with their cakes now and won’t be buying from them in the near future. Hopefully next year my little one will leave me alone in the kitchen long enough for me to make her a fantastic cake.
Written by Peaches
Salon de la Maison et du Jardin
As you may have seen there is an exhibition running from the 24th April - 28th April at Swami Vivekananda Centre in Pailles. This exhibition is being organised by lacase.mu showcasing services and products to do with the home and garden.
A while ago I was in desperate need of some bedsheets but couldn’t find the one I was looking for, I went all over Port Louis but came home empty handed. I needed cotton fitted bed sheets but all the ones I saw were more like polyester than cotton. So when I saw this expo was going to be here in a few weeks I decided to wait.
So I went to the expo on the 25th April and was so amazed at how busy it was, I was there at 2.30pm and the place was jam packed. I was a little disappointed that you need to pay Rs40 to enter and children from 2-12 years also have to pay Rs20, I was a little outraged that a child needs to pay for entry it’s not like they had children’s entertainment.
Anyway upon entering the hall there are already many stands displaying home goods, paint, furniture etc, I had a little browse and although presentation was fantastic prices on the other hand were ridiculous as usual.
Going into the main hall itself there were loads of different products and demonstrations from mattresses to electrical goods. I found a few people selling exactly what I needed, bedsheets, but would you believe that the same thing is a little cheaper in Bagatelle? I was a little surprised but I was already there so purchased what I came for.
There were many foreigners as I imagined there would be but I fail to see how anyone would spend Rs22,500 on a simple microwave oven when I got mine for less than Rs5,000. Prices were sky high as usual but that didn’t put people off buying. I had one guy try to sell me a special bed sheet that is sweat proof and waterproof for Rs1,000, I was like ‘come on’ are you serious, most people have fans and air con so surely that won’t be needed? There was also cookware at RS1,500 for a single pan, I got my Tefal set for around Rs3,000 and that included 5 different sizes.
When you go outside there are jacuzzi’s, swimming pools, garden furniture and plants/flowers. I did buy a few flowers and stopped over at the children’s outdoor play furniture. Once again I was appalled, I saw an amazing trampoline that would be perfect for my little diva but with a price tag of Rs22,000 I think we’ll stick to arts and crafts. A basic outdoor play gym that had a slide and swing was a whopping Rs65,000!
For me personally it was a waste of time, too crowded and too much riff raff around wasting sellers time. What amazes me the most is that these companies will pay up to Rs75,000 for a stand but won’t invest money on a decent website. I would much rather sit in the comfort of my own home and browse.
Written by Peaches
The Mauritian Bloggers meeting at Bagatelle
If you were at Bagatelle yesterday, 20th April 2013, you might have come across some popular and some not so famous Mauritian bloggers. How you would have recognised them, you might wonder. Simple - the table in the food court with the most gadgets would have been ours. Tablets, dSLRs and smartphones were on display to help you guys find us easier, lol. No we’re not geeks, we’re just passionate about technology!
For some of rest, it was the first time coming face to face with someone you’ve been speaking to for a while. Take for example myself and Yashvin, we’ve been in contact a lot of times through email but it was only yesterday that we met in person. It’s nice to finally meet that great guy who is so passionate about blogging and find he still has the same enthusiasm as 5 years back when he first started.
I was introduced to other bloggers who I didn’t know before and it was amazing how easy it was to chat with them as if we’ve been friends for a long time. That’s the great thing when you share something in common; you never experience that awkward moment of silence.
Unfortunately, I was not able to have a proper chat with everyone (15+ people) but I suppose this becomes an excuse for a future meeting. It would be nice to hang out again and hopefully this time, the bloggers who’ve stopped blogging would have become active again by then.
Anyway feel free to leave a comment if you’ve seen us at Bagatelle or if you want to know more about blogging and be part of our group.
Clever Dodo Shop introduces personalised rice charms
We’re very happy to announce our new collection of personalised gifts - rice charms. They were supposed to be ready for Valentines but unfortunately, our supplier did not have an important piece in stock and therefore it has taken this long to finally put this back on our online shop.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of rice charms, they are an accessory where a word (usually name of a person) is written on a grain of rice. This is then put in a vial and a special oil is added to preserve the rice.
Nowadays, it has become common to add other little things to the vial to make it even more pretty. You can have a small dried flower, glow in the dark rock or tiny coloured beads (fairy dust) to make your charm even more customised to your taste.
The rice charm itself can be crafted as a necklace, bracelet, keyring or mobile phone charm. Therefore it can make an excellent present for anyone regardless of age and gender.
Our prices start from Rs140 and we believe it’s really a bargain for a personalised item of jewellery. We have plenty of designs available, so head over to the Clever Dodo Boutique and choose yours :)
If you have any questions regarding the rice charms, please leave a comment.
Research shows speeding offences are increasing in Mauritius even with speed cameras on our roads
As I was driving up Grand River North West today, I noticed they’ve installed a new speed camera there but I’m not sure if it’s already operational. Anyway I came across a document on gov.mu website today and I saw the following sentence which I thought was strange:
Actually, since the introduction of speed camera in the Island of Mauritius in December 2008, exceeding speed limit offences shot from 17,700 in 2008, to 40,000 in 2009 and reached 58,000 in 2010.
It seems speeding offences have been increasing steadily year on year despite the use of the cameras. Maybe a lot of police officers take bribe and therefore drivers were not fined before and with the cameras you are either guilty or innocent and that would explain how the fines double up in the first year of operation.
However in the second year, it seems offenders were not deterred even though they knew of the existence of those photographic gadgets. Now that could mean two things - first there are many rich drivers who don’t give a toss about the Highway Code or speeding tickets because paying the fines do not make a dent in their pockets and second the government is not doing enough to raise awareness of the dangers of going over the speed limit and they just want to cash in on the fines, so the more money for them by installing more speed cameras.
What’s your opinion about it all?
What to do if you get a faulty gas cylinder / bobone gaz or a leak in it?
Unlike European countries, Mauritius does not have underground gas connections and therefore people have to use gas cylinders (bobone gaz) for cooking purposes. They are available in blue, red, green and yellow and they cost Rs330 each. Green is the least popular of them all though. It’s not just a colour preference but it’s actually how they get connected to your main appliance (eg cooker). Some need to be screwed in and other lock in place by pressing them over.
I use the blue one and it connects to my cooker by pressing and locking the connector onto the cylinder. It usually lasts me a good 2-3 months and I’ve got a spare one just in case it finishes in the middle of cooking or when I really need it.
Anyway, I’ve never had any problems with them until the day before yesterday. I was replacing the gas bottle with a new one but it kept making this tsssstttt sound which suggests there was a leak somewhere. I tried fiddling with the connector quite a few times but the sound of the leak would not go away. Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG/butane/propane) has a strong smell and I couldn’t just overlook the problem. People have died just from inhaling a large quantity of butane and a small spark is enough to start a huge fire.
Since I bought this gas cylinder a few weeks back, I didn’t know where I kept the receipt and that could cause a problem in trying to return it. Anyway I called Winners (supermarket where I originally purchased it) and told them about the fault and that I’ve lost the receipt and they told me to come over and they’ll exchange it for me. Once there, they just asked for my name and a contact number and gave me a new one which worked perfectly.
Note that if you buy those gas bottles from petrol stations, you don’t usually get a receipt. Therefore whether you bought from there or not, you could potentially try to get them exchange it for you. Whatever the fault in the gas cylinder, make sure you get it exchanged for your own safety. You might be willing to accept your loss and have a cylinder which gets used up quicker through the leak but that can be really dangerous. Someone I know did this but believe me you’d better be safe than sorry.
Salon International du Livre
As you may have seen, the International Book Far Mauritius (Salon International du Livre) started on Thursday 7th March until the 10th. As I didn’t have time during the week, I decided to go on the last day, Sunday. l was so shocked to see how many people there were; it was chaotic! I never usually go out on the weekends for this reason - there was so much pushing and shoving, no-one has any manners.
Well I was interested in looking for some children’s learning material and cooking books. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, there were hardly any books in English and the prices were ridiculous. It seemed that people just went there for a day out rather than being interested in books itself, some of the visitors were dressed like they were going to a wedding!
I did see some places that attracted a lot of attention such as Bookcourt and the Indian section had queues. A lot of the stands were empty too, I would’ve thought that the weekend would be the busiest but some people (owners) didn’t even bother to turn up and some of the deserted stands looked really exciting too.
I have always loved to read since I was a child and had piles and piles of books, I also went to the library every weekend, I want to pass this on to my children too but I find Mauritius very behind in what is available.
All over the world books are being phased out now with Kindle replacing them, iPad also has an app for reading books so I fear that the traditional book will soon no longer exist as nearly everyone I know has a Kindle or a tablet. I don’t agree with this as children are now having problems writing due to all the technology around; they no longer need to use a pen and paper. I wish Mauritius would sell affordable books for children in a variety of languages as well as there were so many in French and Kreol but not enough in English.
The Cyber City - A tower in a parking field
I’ve heard so much of the Cyber City Tower at Ebene but never had a reason to visit it until yesterday. I had to return a Nomad modem for them to cancel the contract (that’s a long story and not the point of this post though). So on the motorway, I saw the sign to turn left (coming from Port-Louis) to head towards the tower which was fine until I was getting nearer to the place.
I was driving in the second lane on the premises when I noticed the palm trees had their branches hanging over the road which prevented me from sticking to my lane and I found myself driving a quarter in the left lane. it was not like a couple of the branches were overgrown but most of them were and it was a hazard in my opinion. Either the people responsible should not have planted the palm trees so close to the outer kerb or they should see to it that it doesn’t cause a problem to drivers entering the area.
Wing B was my destination and I searched in vain for a sign to indicate me where I needed to go. I kept on driving until I reached the end of the road which had Emtel on its right. I asked the security guy working there where Nomad was located and he pointed to the tower right in front of me. I then asked where I could park and that’s when he said parking is a problem here. He advised me to put it behind another car on a road adjacent on double yellow lines but to be careful as I may be fined. I didn’t think twice because there was someone else with me who would be able to move the car if there was any need to.
I was however surprised and disappointed at the lack of signage. For somebody like me who is visiting for the first time, they have not made it easy (1) to find what I was looking for, Wing B of the tower and (2) parking space. It seems the Cyber City is a tower amidst a parking field - cars are actually parked on footpaths everywhere. It is obvious the people who designed it did not think about the parking side of it or did not expect so many cars.
The Nomad representative who I talked to told me they have parking only for their staff (actually only 2 of them) and none for their clients. Paid parking is available but finding the person in charge to take payment is a hassle. Oh there was a little sign on the tower that says Wing B, so much for trying to locate it whilst driving. And access to the lifts is restricted and you need to get a visitors card to allow you in. Needless to say none of this was written anywhere in the building and the security in charge keeps your visitors card as soon as you head for the lifts. She’s probably good at recognising faces as she signs you out when you’re leaving.
I was in a hurry and haven’t been able to take any pictures but I’m sure many people know what the parking there is like. I just feel sorry for those working there. If anyone got some pictures, I’ll be happy to put them up. Just send them over to me :)