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Things ‘big’ people do to ‘small’ humans

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By CAROLINE NJUNG’E
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I was in a supermarket last Saturday in a certain mall when I spotted an “odd” duo – two men, one a hulk of a man, tall and very broad, wearing a somewhat faded navy blue suit and not-so white shirt and no tie. He was pushing a trolley.

The other was shorter, and wore a light gray expensive-looking suit, crisp-white shirt and a flowery tie. His shoes had a high sheen to them.

The shorter man walked slightly ahead of the taller one. They happened to head to the detergent section, the same aisle I was making a beeline for.

I am a creature of habit, the kind of person that is faithful to brands I have used over the years, so I rarely spend more than 20 minutes in a supermarket because I know what I want.

But I was curious about this duo, so I hang around, pretending to compare prices.

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The man in the expensive suit took his time inspecting the shelves while his companion stood by silently, patiently holding the trolley.

And then I heard the short man say, “We’ll take this,” he said, pointing at a brand of detergent.

The tall man immediately took a step forward, reached for the detergent and put it in the trolley. The short man then said, “Wait here…” and then walked away, leaving the big man with the trolley standing there.

It is then that I was sure this was a man and his bodyguard, going by the big man’s size and obvious deference towards his shorter companion.

I would bump into them a few minutes later at the pay point. The short man had purchased detergent, tissue and several bars of soap, all which would have fit into a small shopping basket.

While the tall man unloaded the shopping at the cashier’s, his boss leisurely scrolled through his phone, waiting to pay.

This incident reminded me of a relative who often tells us how they (he is a driver) are treated by their bosses, men and women of means, individuals that head big corporations, politicians, and successful business people.

He says that all the times he has driven his long-time boss, the head of a certain parastatal, to meetings, conferences and other events in the big hotels in and out of town over lunch hour, his boss has never once offered him lunch, or even a bottle of water.

He leaves him to stew in the sun at the parking lot, or freeze, depending on the weather, and when he emerges from the hotel hours later looking sated and at peace with the world due to a full stomach, he does not even bother to find out whether his driver has eaten or not.

This relative reckons that most of these lunches “important” people such as his boss feast on in the name of service to the people are either paid for using taxpayers’ money, or footed by whatever agency has invited them.

It would therefore cost them nothing, he says, if they asked the organiser to pack some food, which is always in abundance at the buffet table, for their driver or whoever else that is employed to make their life easier.

These two incidents also bring to the fore how some of us dehumanise our domestic help, acting and going about our lives in our homes as if they are not there, and talking and doing things in their presence that we wouldn’t say or do in the vicinity or within earshot of people we hold in high regard. Or am I being petty?





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