You shouldn’t!

‘Monique, you shouldn’t treat me like this, there are other ways to deal with me’, Mr. X said.
‘I shouldn’t treat you like this? You shouldn’t treat me like this! You’re not taking me serious, but I’ll make sure you’re going to!’, I added with a fierce and clear voice. ‘I’ve paid you all of your money, and I’ve paid a very fair price.’
An uncomfortable grin appeared on his face. He knew he wasn’t right and soon realised I wouldn’t let him get away with it this time. I was done being the good and patient girl.

It’s hard to get me upset or angry, but sometimes people cross a line. A salesman in Ségou had the doubtful honor. Late February 2014 I had ordered seven hand-made items from him. A week should be enough to get the job done he had assured me. Since he was at that time working on another order, I would have my seven items by the latest in a month.
One month went by, another month went by and by early June he had managed to deliver… six. I had been promised time and time again that all seven would be ready before I’d travel to The Netherlands. He had even blamed me several times for not having given him the right travel dates (…) and sure enough nr. 7 wasn’t ready before I left.
I didn’t need to worry though, it would be waiting for me upon return. He seemed to have forgotten that I had ordered the items to take them to The Netherlands. And of course it wasn’t waiting for me upon return (you’re back already?). Also I had to return one that hadn’t been properly made, which brought the number of delivered back to five.

‘You’ll have them tomorrow.’
‘I promise you, both of them will be ready before the end of this week.’
‘Really, did I tell you they would be ready today? You must be mistaken. Come back the day after tomorrow. They’ll be waiting for you.’
And on it went and again weeks became months.
Late November I decided that enough was enough. I would get my ordered and paid for items!
So, I went to his shop again, exactly at the day he had said they would really really really be ready!

‘Monique, good evening, what brings you here?’ he said looking the other way.
‘I have come to collect my items.’
‘Today? I told you tomorrow.’
‘No you said today, so today it is.’
‘I promise you, one will be ready tomorrow, the other one on Sunday.’
‘You’ve told me that once too often and it’s been nine months now. I’ll give you a reason to take me serious!’ Not giving him the chance to interrupt me, I stepped forward and took two items from a shelf, that had at least the same value as the ones ordered.
‘I’m taking these two as a security. Please note that I do not want these, I’ll just guard them for you till the others are being delivered.’
‘You’re not going to do that. I’ve given you my promise. You’re making a mistake. You should not be treating me like this.’
‘So far your promises were worthless. Do you realize that everyone will sooner or later face the consequences of their behaviour and that you will be no exception?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I won’t take you to the police, but someday someone else might do so.’ He had a bit of a fright. Only a week before someone had taken another salesman to the police for abuse of confidence. He was still in jail awaiting his lawsuit.
‘Ok, take whatever you want, you can take even more than two.’
‘You owe me two, I’ll take two.’

Without any doubt people within earshot had closely followed the conversation. They all know him and his attitude towards his clients. When leaving the shop with the two items I was praised on my good choice. I told them they were gifts of Mr. X. They looked at me in surprise.

The next day the first item was being delivered. And only two days later the second arrived too. When I thanked Mr. X, he thanked me with a big smile, stating I had done the right thing.

Unfortunately he had soon forgotten about the lesson learned. He lost a well-paying client. This time for good.

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About MoInMali

Monique is the founder of Papillon Reizen, a Mali based travel agency specialized in inspiring journeys in Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. Fair-trade and with a heart for people, environment and culture. Small-scale group journeys as well as family trips and journeys tailored to your wishes. We love to share West Africa's beauty with you and take you on a journey to experience rather than to see. Monique lives in Mali with her Malian partner and shares some of her daily life experiences with you through this blog. For information on Papillon Reizen: www.papillonreizen.com
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