Sometimes consumers can be utter idiots

2012-01-23 07:31

I don’t know about you, but I was absolutely amazed that despite the Gauteng e-tolling being put on hold, at least 200 000 motorists actually registered with Sanral for their e-tags.

Now, this might sound like a lot of people, but it is actually less than five percent of the total number that should be registering. I have to ask myself though - what on earth were they thinking? Right from the word go this project has been a doubtful starter, what with the massive outcry from all sorts of people and organisations not to mention Cosatu's anger at the idea.

So, why were these 200 000 people so keen to get registered? Are they just very rich and couldn’t care less how much it’s going to cost them so they just got their secretaries or companies to register for them so there wouldn’t be a hassle later on?

Or, are they just typically complacent and apathetic consumers who just do what they are told even if it costs them a lot of money and inconvenience?

Are they the same consumers, I wonder, who meekly submit to having their till slips checked by security people before they are allowed to leave stores such as Makro and Incredible Connection?

Think about it. If you look at theft from shops and chain stores, by far the majority of this is from staff, good receiving clerks and so forth. I remember some years ago the average figure for what the retail trade calls "shrinkage" due to crooked staff, was well into the 90%. Which means that actual shoplifting accounts for a minimal amount and in many stores the products have tags that sound alarms if someone tries to walk out without paying.

Yet, in order to prevent staff from stealing, particularly the practice of cashiers letting friends and family through till points with a few extra goodies in their shopping carts, these shops decided to check each and every customer.

In effect what they are doing is telling their customers to prove they are not crooks before they are allowed to leave the building.

I did some research a few years ago outside Makro in Johannesburg and asked customers what they thought about having to stand in a queue to have their till slips checked.

Almost without exception the answer I got was: "Well there’s a lot of crime in this country so we must expect this."

Quite unbelievable. What in fact is happening is that some shops are just taking the easy way out and instead of putting in security systems to prevent staff from stealing they just assume that every customer is a crook until those customers can convince them otherwise.

I know of no other country in the world where this arrogant form of customer denigration takes place.

However, the question I have to ask is this. Should we South African consumers stand up against being ripped off by e-tolling and other idiotic forms of authoritarian revenue generation? Should we South Africans just meekly comply with shops that require us to prove our innocence?

But, an even bigger question is how do we persuade South Africans to stand up against these things without creating the perception that we’re asking them to break the law?

Because unfortunately, far too many of us completely confuse law-abiding protest with a green light to go ahead and break the law. Which is what inevitably happens with strikes.

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  • Hennie - 2012-01-23 08:39

    I don't believe a word politicians or crooks in positions where they steal the country dry,say.So I don't believe the figure of 200000.I suppose it was only 2000 which they have blown out of proportion.

      Godfrey - 2012-01-23 08:45

      I agree with you. The moment they issued this spin about 200000 I said to myself, "liars".

      Thando - 2012-01-23 09:35

      Well whatever the number - the fact is we have plenty of idiots who did us no favours by supporting these thieves. This is also the reason why our car prices are so high - maunfacturers increase prices at will and the status loving sheep keep buying. I said to myself I will not buy a new car in protest of the crazy prices ( compare to overseas ) , but what is the point of doing that when every other idiot simply goes ahead ?

      bobby.mykonos - 2012-01-23 11:09

      Almost guarantee that the 200 000 are govt, parastatal and corporate vehicles. There are probably a few thousand individual vehicle owners in that number, at most.

      dlawre30 - 2012-01-23 12:24

      100% Agree. They lie about everything, look at the latest set of lies around the "shadow" plane that follwed Zuma. They can't even lie properly as they always get caught out. DIMWITS

  • Mike - 2012-01-23 08:42

    Most of those already registered are government vehicles

      Robert - 2012-01-23 09:03

      ...and a friend of mine, he is a business man and has 10 vehicles, he is the proud owner of 10 e-tags, I am now trying to return them for a refund.

  • Citizen - 2012-01-23 08:56

    Take this a little further Chris, think of sport, we keep supporting cricket despite us trying to 'force' Majola and co to resign by filling up the grounds (do supporters not know the meaning of the word boycott?)Rugby is the same we vilify the coaches and players during the season, ticket prices etc and yet when the Springboks play its to a full house at R600-R1000 per ticket(some protest that is)...its one thing to be patriotic and another to really enforce your beliefs, if youre all rich well then its only you and me Chris ha ha

  • Robert - 2012-01-23 09:01

    What about thye e-toll roadblocks yesterday, I was following this on twitter yesterday where aparantly drivers were illegally pulled over and almost forced to register for e-tags. If anyone has more info, please post it. Now the checking of till slips, I have noticed that they check to see what you should have in your trolley, they never check to see what you shouldn't have. this is a hugh hole in their security

      Dave - 2012-01-23 09:07

      @Robert, any further news on this? Havent heard anything? Who was pulling over? Sanral?

      Robert - 2012-01-23 09:14

      @Dave, it was the e-toll vehicles, I have seen a few around, apparantly they were pulling vehicles over on the onramps to the highway, not all, but some, and almost forcing the drivers to register. follow @JPSAorg on twitter and find out more

      Dave - 2012-01-23 09:21

      @Robert, UNREAL!! Even though there is no legal requirement to register? strange this hasnt popped up on this site yet. You think they would have argued with my Hummer? lol

      vlarismam - 2012-01-23 09:30

      Probably a desperate attempt to get to that figure of 200,000!

      Thando - 2012-01-23 09:36

      They cant do that - if true those people must be arrested

  • scottdavies123 - 2012-01-23 09:03

    I have to agree. We have all come to accept this ridiculous situation where our bags are checked by security and it is actually not right. I DO resent it. We should start kicking up a stink about being basically forced to prove ourselves innocent of the charge of theft every time we buy at these kinds of stores! And regarding the E-tolling issue, I think there is a tendency amongst the higher LSM groups to isolate and not work together. High LSM groups will tend to hope someone else will fight - they usually have the funds so the inconvenience of protesting is more than the pain of paying.

      Thando - 2012-01-23 09:37

      A rich guy at work told me he's happy about the tolls since the roads will be empty - what an idiot

      ludlowdj - 2012-01-23 09:50

      Spot on, we unfortunately live in a country of sheeple, who will quiet happily protest if that OK with you, and if it is a problem don't worry we'll stand over here in the line until it our turn to be slaughtered like the cattle we are. How we ever survived the ANC's armed struggle is beyond me, as we seem to be surrounded by fools and cowards.

      Sharon - 2012-01-23 17:14

      I spoke to a lawyer once, and he told me that it is illegal for shop security to check your bag and slip unless they have a notice in their store notifying shoppers that they reserve the right to do so. The only store I have ever seen such a notice was Builders' Warehouse in Boksburg. I was recently in Game in Benoni where I walked past a guard wanting to check my slip. When I indicated that I was not willing for him to do so, he grabbed my arm. I was too fast for him, but grrrrrr.

  • Jaco - 2012-01-23 09:59

    How about if we insist on the manager of the store checking the slip, and not the security. I would think that they would quickly get tired of the whole thing. These stores also refuses to exchange faulty goods if your till slip was not stamped by security, so they force the consumer to wait and have it stamped.

      Odicito - 2012-01-24 01:25

      Hahahhahahah vernon, hahahaha. thats toooo funny! hehehehe

  • julianluus - 2012-01-23 10:03

    In principle I am for toll roads as the concept of taxing people for their consumption rather than their earnings is a much fairer system. What pisses me of is the fact that we will never see a reduction in paye and the toll money will inevitable end up in the pocket of some fat tenderpreneur or minister. We need a government system whereby the country is run by a council of retired professionals and major decisions are made by online referendum. These servants of the people who sees themselves as kings and queens should be hanged.

      Showerhead Zooma - 2012-01-24 09:31

      Well said. ...errr, the last part.

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-23 10:24

    I believe you should ask the car ental companies how many cars they added onto the system. I am sure very few private individuals would have registered.

  • Jos - 2012-01-23 10:41

    We have become passive as South Aficans because we don't want to be labelled if we complain.

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-23 11:12

    Such liars, all of them, and the pathetic attempt at "spin"

  • Hugh - 2012-01-23 11:51

    I am pleased that there is another in this country that does not accept being labeled a criminal. I take exception to having to provide my Bio data to a bank or in application for a visa. I take exception to having to remove my shoes and belt at airport security. I take exception to laws that allow being 'labelled' a criminal by our Tax department. The laws that allow them to refuse full disclosure of your information. They know who are most likely to have criminal tendencies. Target that demographic. I take exception to having to give out my ID document to every one in sundry. The worst is when some arb ninja from telkom or other entity refuse to chat to you telephonically unless you provide an ID. For gods sake I have proven beyond doubt that if I were a criminal I could give anyone's ID number using their name and get a load of information. An instance is where a friend needed to have ADSL installed but did not have the time to go through the hassle. He gave me his ID and I got the whole system installed without hassle. Not the best example but and example none the less.

      Marc - 2012-01-23 20:40

      Well done Xenswim. I can't fault anything you have said. Its a police state in many ways. Govt and "institutions" want to give the "illusion" of security and control. FICA was the original bollocks. "So, I'm a perlemoen smuggler, I'd like to open a bank account and here's my electricity bill". Sure, these twits sure are going to round up the baddies with these ingenious methods. Drivel. How about RICA? Only three days to get "RICA'd" they were saying (so exciting!!), win a holiday for two and in reurn we'll tap your phone you numbskull. We in SA really have been stampeded into wholesale compliance...

  • Hannah - 2012-01-23 12:26

    If these roads are not tolled, who is going to pay for them?

      Truthis - 2012-01-23 12:41

      WE ALREADY PAY TAXES FOR ROADS YOU MORON!!!! The issues are not about paying, but about the amount we are paying. The fact that taxis and buses don't pay. Do you know that nearly half the cost of this scheme is in order to construct the systems to collect money. There are no alternatives. What about people who have to use these roads but cannot pay?

      gutwana - 2012-01-24 10:49

      Hannah when people are so naive it shows how spoiled South Africans have been. This system of e-tolling is being used world wide, and all these people can do is sit and whine. When the roads need fixing they'l blame the government. Truthis atleast you got one thing right, yes we may dicuss the issue of bringing down the rates unlike all these other people who want everything for free. 2ndly what about people who cant pay then they musnt use them. Buses are available.

  • Tawizee - 2012-01-23 13:01

    The 200000 who registered must be buses, taxis, government vehicles and the gautrain

      Odicito - 2012-01-24 01:27


  • petrut - 2012-01-23 13:10

    I agree this figure must be wrong! Or corruption is setting in, maybe trying to scare/intimidate us, so that we go and register. Consumers are idiots, I agree, blind and don't make a sound when there are issues to stand up against! But when it DIRECTLY affects a person on a personal level then people want to scream and shout! Again why can't we as a South African Nation stand together when we do not agree when the government triesto force things onto us? We have a voice! USE IT!

  • Piet - 2012-01-23 13:13

    I am so with you at Makro, I walk straigh out of that door! If you want come and arrest me for theft!

  • Keshia - 2012-01-23 14:20

    200 000 registered does not mean 200 000 paying road users, taxis and busses have to also register even though the are exempt from paying. This should account for this high number...

  • malinda.cassidy - 2012-01-23 15:02


  • gutwana - 2012-01-23 15:25

    When roads are left unattended with potholes all over and bad maintanance, you people complain. When the goverment builds proper roads but wants the users to unite and pay for the development of these roads, you complain. What exactly do you want? To use free roads? Where must the Congress cought out all these billions to build these facilities? Funny you dont complain for tolls on other roads like N2, N3, N1 etc. All we should be concenerned about is trying to get reasonable prices which are affordable, but this SA mentality of being entitled to everything is tjatjarag.

      Olive - 2012-01-23 16:13

      We pay taxes for all of this - paye and rates and taxes ???????? Maybe you dont ? And as for the "Government" they waste our taxpayers money on luxuries for themselves - you just don't get it do you - Hello have you not been following all the corruption going on and millions of Rands going missing.

      Maximus Odinidus - 2012-01-24 09:54

      Aside from the taxes there is a fuel levy that is paid by every motorist proportionate to the amount of fuel they purchase. We also pay annual license fees for all our vehicles. Some families have two or more vehicles. Also with every new vehicle purchased there is an emissions tax added to the price of the vehicle proportionate to the engine capacity. That means the earns billions in annual revenue in those three streams alone. Hope you learned something new.

      gutwana - 2012-01-24 10:59

      lol, Maxodin you're a tool hey. You very right you pay taxes on fuel and for your vehicle, and so? The issue at hand is the road not your car or fuel. This e-toll is being used world wide, America en Europe and you so spoiled you cant appreciate proper road infrastructure, it will take 20 years to repay the debt of the Johannesburg highways improvement with the e-toll implementation. . I'm an engineer and I know how much it costs to build roads, these e-tolls will be action if you not satisfied try next door where you find gravel with patches of tar and you will be greatful of what we have. Olive if you not satisfied by the government I'm sure you know where to not cross on your ballot paper.

      Bongani - 2012-01-27 07:35

      wow gutwana for a person who claims is an engineer you sure a dumber than a concrete block(yes i'm aslo an engineer you twart), before you rent and rave about paying for this get to the bottom of improving our public transport system first so that people can have an alternative to choose which is cheaper to use, i wonder how you got your Pr status if you can't reason logically.

  • Jean - 2012-01-23 19:10

    In the UK checking of till slips also happens (Curries for ex.).

  • Wayne - 2012-01-24 14:00

    Just want you all to know that this article has inspired me to take action. I have sent off complaints to two stores that make their customers feel like criminals by having security check their goods against the receipt at the store exit. I want to urge all of you to do the same.

  • Lekubas Tea - 2012-01-30 17:25

    When I read this article I could relate so much. I detest it so much going into the supermarket to go spend my hard earned money only to be searched and asked for a slip. I find it so crayz and undermining to humanity that their lack of enforcing security measures I have to suffer for it, this is not creating employment to this people standing at the doors asking for your slip pyscologically and mentally they are getting destroyed. I'm not being racist or anything but I experience this most were most black people shop its true I have never been to rosebank or sandton and experience this foolishing behaviour cause they no there they will tell them were to get off not everyone is a crook that's the bottom line. As for this e-tag I'm one of those people who feels it doesn't make any sense to this day. The gorvement is ripping us off day light, and stupid citizen can't even see it, are they earning more than the rest of us oh please. This is just sick, as a matter of fact should this e tolling work I will be one of the first people to sell my car in fact I will go and work some where else were I know my money will come to me and I will get to enjoy much should I pay to stay and survive in this country. Is the tax I'm paying not enough come on. Who ever came with this whole idea is selfish period we have loyal citizens who work very hard and don't even earn much and still you come with this please. Something needs to be done asap, Otherwise????

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