Cuban Anecdotes : Customer service

5 Dec

Living on Cuban Time – Or : All we have is time.

Went to change money at the Cadeca this morning.

Waited my turn, went in, waited for the employee to finish her private conversation with a friend, handed in my money and ID, explained my first and last name to her, watched her check the Euro bills like ten times in slow-mo , type in the transaction in even slower motion and then 5 minutes later grin happily at me : All I have is 10 cookie bills .. so I’d schlepp a brick of money home with me.

No problem, I can see your colleague next counter has 20 and 50 cookie bills, let’s have those.

Oh, no – you have to wait in turn at his counter and repeat the whole thing.

OK, so another 10 minutes later, same procedure. 5 minutes later the guy is finally ready to hand me the money and gives me just 20’s – I ask about the 50 bill and he says he can’t give that one away.

Called the Gerente and she explains the money truck hasn’t arrived but gives me the 50 bill.

After the Cadeca I cross over to the Wine store and the door is closed – there’s a “reunion” inside.

Another customer and I have to stay behind the closed door while the clerk brings us a bottle of red wine he chooses for us and we have the choice to either buy it or not from across the closed door.

I buy it, after all I promised to bring a bottle for a test lunch at the Paladar.

Last thing on my list : Get a haircut.

I drive to the recommended private place, ring the bell and am told by the clerk she doesn’t know whether they do men’s and to come back later as they are open only after noon. In any case, phone ahead …

So I phone later and am told : No men.

The cleaning lady of the house I rent has mercy on me and takes me to her state run hairdresser that is allowed to work on private account (Cuentapropista), so the hairdressers rent from the state and can have private customers.

Great fun and a clean, good haircut for one cookie while I’d have paid 10 at the purely private place for foreigners and wealthy residents.

Last thing on the car list :

The other day we bring the car to an official repair shop for a re-paint job of the front fender.

We are told to return at 08h30 sharp to have the repainted fender installed.

Next day 08h30 sharp we are told to come back at 10h30 as they are holding a political reunion/meeting at the repair shop.

Later that morning, the fender is installed on the main road under a tree, 200 meters away from the state run shop so the mechanics can earn their private cookie ration.


Comments are closed.