On 13 August, my husband decided to take a different route home after taking my step daughter to her ballet class. It was while we were driving down Sunrise Boulevard, which we don’t normally use, that we saw a man walking in the rain, holding up a puppy for people to see. This man was clearly selling this puppy. My husband must have groaned inwardly, thinking “Here we go again…”.
I love animals, I love them more than I love humans. I will stand up for any injustice I see and I am like – excuse the pun – a dog with a bone when I want justice.
So, I made him turn around and confront the guy, who said he wasn’t selling the puppy, but that he just wanted a R50. My blood boiled. R50 for this living being who felt pain, and who was probably freezing. I immediately called Law Enforcement, because up until that moment I was an upstanding citizen who abides by the law.
Did you know that it is illegal to confiscate a puppy from a person who is also illegally trying to sell said puppy?
I stressed to the person on the line that they’d have to send someone quickly, as this man was now aware we were onto him. Hah, the wasted breath!
It was about 15 minutes later that I found this guy again, at the Capricorn Square Shopping centre, still walking around with the pup, soaking wet, but quiet in the face of this injustice done to him. After calling the SPCA inspectorate, he disappeared and by the time I flagged a cop down, he was gone. By the way, thank you to that cop who sped out of the McDonald’s parking lot, leaving his partner in the store, to follow me.
There was another metro cop who stopped me and heard my story gave me an “Oh, it’s just a dog” look.
Law enforcement? Cue that night-time cricket sound… nowhere to be seen! (Note: LE offices are a 3min drive from where I initially spotted the puppy seller!)
Because I had bothered a SPCA inspector months ago about just this type of issue, I contacted him again. He then forwarded my email to some Law Enforcement guys who never responded.
What do I want from this?
- Law enforcement needs to be held accountable for this: my call went unanswered, so did my and Inspector Moyo’s emails. Ok, someone replied but such a listless reply, my word! See in gallery, email 8.
- An inclusive programme which prevents illegal selling of animals. A partnership between SPCA, LE, SAPS and the interested public, maybe?
- For all to know that should I see someone selling an animal again, I will take matters into my own hands, because clearly nobody else cares.
Screenshots of emails in gallery below
Thanks to Inspector Moyo of the SPCA, TEARS and AID for Animals in Distress (who responded to the second incident), and the cop who helped me at Capricorn Square. Also, thanks to the City of Cape Town twitter account (@CityofCT) that asked me to DM the problem – not enough characters on Twitter for this story 🙂
I’m only 30, yet when I say things like “When I worked in retail…” or “when I was growing up…” I feel so ancient. Those types of utterances are common in my day-to-day vocabulary, and I am, quite frankly, not ashamed to say it.
My most common utterance: “When I worked as a waitress, or in a clothing store…” Jeez, people, the behaviour of some “customer service consultants” in certain popular chain stores makes you wonder if they received any training at all. And, when I say training, I refer to client relations, not the actual work. Because, believe me, the training manager will not skimp on the hard-skills. It’s the soft skills that need toughening up.
Here are the four things I wish these chain store managers would drill into their employees
- Be aware of your surroundings and respect the customer’s space
Just today I was walking in the store. There were two guys wearing the uniform who were chatting away merrily and walking. The one bumped into me because he was not looking around to see where he was walking. I’ve been told I have a very expressive face, and I think the lady at the vegetable weighing station saw my reaction and she told him to look where he was walking.
In fact, this is not something that should be taught at work, it’s something that your mom tells you as a kid, “Nicole, look where you are walking, don’t bump into people.”
- Serving the customer is a priority. Your attention goes to them first.
I could not find something in the store – silly me, I thought I was in the Tokai branch but was instead at Capricorn – so I walked up to one of the ladies talking to a fellow colleague. My polite “excuse me” was met with a dirty look and a very listless response.
When I went for training I was told that I was not allowed to talk to my colleagues in case a customer needed help. Oh, how I hated that rule, but now I see why it was important. There was another rule for when standing at our stations: don’t remove your red peaked-cap. Oh, Lor’ ha’ mercy, but that was the most horrible cap I was ever forced to wear! (I worked at Meltz as my first job)
- Always give the customer right of way
Something that sticks out from my training I received all those years ago was this rule. That means that if a customer is walking, do not jump in front of them or make them wait for you to pass. This happens quite often and really gets under my skin. Anyone else?
- Should you need to ask your colleague something, don’t shout across the aisle
I also get really peeved at the group of coloured girls (and I can say coloured because I am a coloured meisie myself) who tend to shout at each other from across the aisle, “Sementaaaaa, waa’s ie wassing powder?”
Dear lady, no wonder people from all over the world look at us and think we are super gee-ay-em. You may not be able to speak well, but at least walk over to your most knowledgeable colleague and whisper, “Sementa, waa’s ie wassing powder?”
That was my little rant. Do you have any stories you’d like to share? Comment below and you could win a 16GB OTG flash drive valued at R150. Draw to take place on 14 September. Competition open to South African readers only.