After a few frustrating months living in India, I had decided to not let outside influences affect me. I had decided to be Zen. I did fail a few times but overall I could control my emotions. Now I have to do the same in my own home country and it is not as easy.
I often said that India resembled my country in so many ways, negative and positive. The lack of service is one of those negatives. There is a rampant lack of service in Senegal in the public and private sector alike. People are slow to take care of you. Also, some of them are basically incompetent. But what I hate the most is that they do their work with the utmost poor attitude. They never smile and they are rude. Take this case: I had to buy a SIM card from a telephone company. I went with my husband to their store and waited for our turn . The lady who served us did not smile, barely greeted us and to top it all, she could not even set up my phone. She just gave up and return it. FYI, I set it up easily once I was back home. I was so outraged by her behavior that I was about to tell her that if she did not want to be there, she should just quit.
The reason for this lack of service, at least according to my dad, is that most people in Senegal are too proud to serve people. They all want to be the boss and bark orders. They all think that providing a service is beneath them like that waitress at a popular restaurant who waits for you to signal to her instead of coming to you and asking you what you want. Or that clerk at the bank that looks down on you and cannot believe you have that big amount of money in your bank account.
But everyone cannot be the boss.
What frustrates me the most about this problem is that once you complain to people who have been living here their entire life, they all tell you to be patient. They all agree that this is the way things are in Senegal and one should just bear it all. It is like they gave up. I feel like shouting to them "Wake up! This is not how things should be! Why accept it all?"
No! We have to do something to change it all.
Scarf and dress fabric - Shivaji market
Dress- Custom made
Bag - Pratunam market
Shoes - Custom made
Ring - old H&M
Earrings - Chandan nagar market
How? You may ask?
First, through education. We should educate people at school but also train them once they start working. In Japan, new employees will be trained on work etiquette for weeks before starting their real work. And some companies in retail or other services go so far as to repeat that training every morning before they open doors. Why don't we do the same here? And why don't we check employees to see if they are following the basic rules?
Another solution is to protest. Nowadays with social media it is way easier to protest and denounce than back in the days. A simple post on Facebook tagging the business that is poor can inform people but more importantly push the business in question to do something. It works like a charm in the US or Europe. But that does not mean it cannot work here as well. Anyway what do we have to lose to try?
Plus as a consumers, we have the power. The power to say to a business if you do not improve, I am not giving you my hard earn money. That is what I do. Once I am treated poorly at a place, chances are I will never set foot there again. This may limit my choices but it may give me a chance to discover new places that will treat me better.
Some of you will be very skeptical. What can we, common people, do against big companies like Orange who have the monopoly. My answer is: keep trying. Orange was the only phone company in Senegal for the longest time, which made it entitled and lazy. And what happens to companies like that? In the end, they lose steam and clients. Soon, they won't be the big boss anymore. Let us just keep on protesting. And I know people who already started to do something on social media. You can find many groups where people denounce companies with poor service.
All I am trying to say is that let us not accept this situation any longer. Let us take measures, actions that guarantees things will change. If not in our time, at least in our kids. But first of all, we need to change the way we think. I am sure people will critique me by saying that I am a Toubab (White person) for thinking the way I do. But in response, I think that Senegalese people have to start embedding in their minds that being like a Toubab is not always a bad thing. What is wrong with being on time at meetings? What is wrong with being courteous to another person? What is wrong with giving ones word and keeping it? What is wrong with providing a service with care and efficiency? How can anyone expect to do business without these values and be successful?
Camouflage Boston bag!
Now, I just need a pair of camouflage stilettos to match!
I had these custom made modeled on my fave Indian chappals.And you wonder why we are still a developing country!