Our government really knows how to instill fear in the masses.
Before the abolishment of the multi-currency system, the United States dollar was the currency of choice for those selling any product because of its strength against all other currencies that were circulating.
However of late, it’s a different story.
No one wants to accept the mighty US Dollar, it’s as if it’s cursed!
In fact, even asking for prices in that currency is now like a taboo as business owners actually take cover when you ask or plead to pay with the greenback.
I came face to face with this attitude on Monday when wanting to buy pesticides for our vegetable garden and limestone, an ingredient of stock feed which we have always bought in US Dollar.
Ever since we started buying this ingredient in 2018, we have always paid for it in that currency as we found it cheaper compared to buying in bond.
We assumed that since we were regular customers, it would be business as usual.
It turned out we were so wrong.
The cashiers flatly refused to take our American dollars and insisted we pay in local currency.
We tried our luck with the manager as we thought he would gladly take the dollars.
Again we were proved incorrect as he flatly refused to accept our money – and quite rudely too!
We faced the similar attitude when wanting to buy pesticides at our usual store as they made it clear they were not accepting foreign currency.
I am not saying people should break the law and continue charging in forex.
But I had thought with regular customers some shops would be flexible and accept hard currency as they still need it to re-stock their shelves since most products are sourced from beyond borders.
Let me be clear, I am talking of regular customers because the government apparently ‘unleashed’ price monitors to check if businesses were complying with the new regulation.
If we had gone to stores where we are not known I would understand if they refused to take our forex because for all they know, we could be the undercover monitors wanting to buy in foreign currency as a trap.
Where we are known, however, I thought they would be flexible and serve us as usual.
I suppose there is that fear because they know the powers that be can be ruthless.
In other news, the going continues to get tougher.
I will not talk about power outages because it’s as good as if we don’t have electricity in Zimbabwe since it is normally restored for a few hours at night when it’s of little use to consumers.
Fuel and cash queues are now a permanent feature so I will also not talk about those.
Recently added to the list of shortages are vehicle number plates and passport paper.
People who have bought cars in recent times are struggling to register them while those wishing to renew or get new passports have been told that they will only get their documents in 2021!
Pity how nothing really seems to work in this country, nothing at all.