I decided to try Jumia Food (Jumia’s version of Mr. Delivery / Uber Eats).
After quite a significant amount of scrolling, I found a vegetarian meal – there is no filter for “Vegetarian” (I wonder why?) – I scrolled onto 1 x Thai restaurant.
And, hallelujah!, they had “Vegetables With Egg Noodles”. My order would be delivered in 60 minutes.
30 minutes later my phone rang. Can they please verify your address?…
..Oh, no..! Not the address again?!!
“Hi, yes, I entered my address on the website when I ordered.”
“Can we please verify your address?”
“If I knew my address I would happily verify it.”
“Can you please WhatsApp us your address?”
“No, I can not. This is not a smartphone. I do not have WhatsApp on it.”
“Can we please verify your address?”
Jumia Operator seems to think that if she repeats the question enough times, we would get to “Oh! You mean verify my address!”
I was so proud of the fact that I managed to crack the 6CQX MR3W + 29 code (See Day#7 ).
Only to discover that is my “postal address”, and pretty much useless for anything else.
Jumia Operator #1 passed me on to Jumia Operator #2 “Can we please verify your address?” FFS.
No, we can not.
“Can you please find someone who can verify your address?” FFS.
Phone against my ear I flew out my front door of the apartment. Straight into a man.
The Man looked lost and had a plastic shopping bag in his hand – my Jumia order!
“Helloooooooo, I see you found me!” The Man looked lost and nervous.
I started towards the plastic shopping bag. The Man looked lost and very nervous.
It was not my Jumia order.
The Man was looking for someone else. And his cellphone had died.
“Would I mind charging his cell phone for a couple of minutes?”
Do you think I was born yesterday, Mister? Us South Africans have heard that one before. (Insert eye-roll.)
But Jumia Operator #2 was still holding, in address verification hope.
I handed The Lost And Nervous Man my (cheap Ghanaian Alcatel) phone, took his iPhone, backed into my apartment, keeping him in full view and closed the door securely between us.
As the door closed I hear him call, in a Lost And a Nervous voice, “Sorry! What is your name?”…
The way he asked the question made me stop in my tracks and open my front door wide.
I suddenly saw it from his perspective.
Here was a mad woman, who flew out a door, talked really fast, was obviously high on something, took his phone and was about to disappears with it.
“Would you like to come in?” I asked.
No, he would rather wait downstairs. (And talk location with Jumia Operator #2, whose perseverance was about to pay off.)
I plugged The Lost And Nervous Man’s phone in and went downstairs.
Outside, Michael (The Lost And Nervous Man’s name) introduced me to my very glamorous neighbour, Petra, one-floor-removed.
Petra is the musician, originally from Zimbabwe. Michael is her manager.
We chatted for a bit, with Jumia Operator #2 interjecting every couple of minutes (I think she liked the sound of Michael’s voice.)
My food (finally) arrived!
Clever me, thinking on my feet, asked the Jumia Driver to please verify my address.
He did not know either!!
When I got back upstairs, Michael’s phone was ringing. And it rang again.. and it rang again…
Michael was clearly a Very Important Lost And Nervous Man because his phone did not stop ringing.
Thinking it may have been him, wanting to reclaim his phone, I answered.
“Michael’s phone good evening.”
But the international dialing code should have been a clue – it was not Michael.
A strange conversation followed in which I explained that I was not Michael’s pa, and no I actually did not know Michael from a bar of soap.
There was a knock on the door. It was Michael. He had come to collect his phone.
I told him I “accidentally” answered it, and may have confused someone named David in Switzerland.
He thanked me. As he started walking away, he hesitated and turned back…
“Er,… Should we be friends?”
The way he asked the question took me back to kindergarten when someone would say “Let’s be friends”, hug you and you were friends.
I considered asking Michael whether he wanted a hug.
But I thought I had frightened him enough already.