Losing the plot

18 12 2007

I mentioned in an earlier post that the banks are not giving out cash, well not much anyway. I’d applied through my bank to the Reserve Bank to draw out sufficient for wages this Friday and with the ongoing panic over cash thought I’d better go and check up to see if they had enough to meet my requirement. No. Absolutely nothing. But I was assured that “Operation Sunrise 2” would take effect before the weekend. Operation Sunrise (the First) took place in September last year when three 0’s were knocked off the currency and new notes issued. Version 2 is a bit of an unknown entity, or at least the banks are not saying what, if anything, they know. Maybe $500000 notes will be issued but why then is the Reserve Bank not delivering ANY cash to the banks? Maybe they are going to knock off 3 or more zeros and issue new money. But get that all done by Christmas, as promised, to every bank in the country and allow time for the folk in the outlying areas to get to town to use up their cash? I think not. My conundrum was this; should I take a chance and keep the cash collected from cash sales to pay the shortfall in the wages requisition (we’ve taken on more labour since it was put in) and risk losing it in a currency change or spend it and take a chance that I actually would be able to get cash out of the bank when I need it? In the end one of the foremen suggested that I pay them (the foremen) and the rest could just take their chances! I liked that so got rid of most of the money I’d stashed. The others are working to rule anyway (no Christmas bonus as agreed by all parties as they get bonuses throughout the year instead – but they changed their minds) so I am working on the weekends and public holidays with the duty foreman, doing the watering that those working overtime normally do, so in the short term we are not dependent on the labour force. Let them eat cake I say!

For the past 5 days I’ve been searching for some lost fuel coupons. Perhaps I should explain. We don’t just drive up to a fuel station and fill up with fuel and pay. Oh no, that would be way too simple. First you have to ask around to find out whom is selling fuel and if they will take local currency or real (usually US dollars). Then you go to an office usually remote from the pumps and buy the coupons that allow you to go and get fuel at a specific station so money does not change hands at the pumps. I guess the primary reason for this is that it is difficult for the powers that be to keep tabs on what is supposedly a controlled price commodity. Maybe it allows vendors to sell for real currency which is supposedly illegal.  Hey not for nothing did I entitle this blog “Zimbabwe Absurdity”! Anyway, I’d duly done all this with a billion and a bit of local cash from a cash-not-through-the-books customer and now I could not find the coupons for the 340 litres of fuel coupons that I’d bought (there was originally 500 litres but I’d used some to pay a transporter that we’d used). Drawers were ransacked, cupboards scoured. Nothing. Suddenly this afternoon I had an inspiration; I’d used them to stock up the tanks at work just after I’d got back from South Africa! Now if I can just find my diary that I lost yesterday…

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