One of the real characters amongst our people was a delivery driver, who had renamed himself De Luxe Mamelodi (after Prinz Brau, De Luxe, one of the major brands introduced by the German company). This is not an unusual practice, throughout Africa, where people adopt as part of their name, some sort of exciting foreign identity.
I happened to sit next to him one evening in the pub and asked how his day had been.
“Terrible,” was the answer.
“Why, what’s the problem?”
He then explained he’d had some sort of disagreement with one of the major local hotels over a credit note book belonging to the company, which he thought they should not have.
It took me a while to understand what he was telling me, “De Luxe, just tell me what this credit note book looks like.”
He explained that it was a credit note book with Prinz- Brau letterhead. I asked one of the accounting personnel to fetch me a credit note book, which he did. “Is it like this?” I asked.
“Just the same.” Was the answer.
I didn’t even finish my beer. I dashed round to the hotel and demanded the return of something that was most certainly our property. After a considerable row, the said credit note book was produced. I just grabbed it and left. What they were doing was to write credit notes against the brewery to balance some of what they had removed from the till.
But for the pub, it might have taken another six months to uncover this nonsense.
Always listen to what the people around you have to say; they usually know a helluva lot more than you do.