IT was a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning in October 2023 when we made our way to Makro Arbour Crossing in Amanzimtoti to take part in a recycling campaign they were running in partnership with the E-Waste Recycling Authority (ERA).
We had seen an advert on Facebook which was promoting a bring-your-junk-for-Makro-vouchers promo and we decided to take advantage of it. I mean, who doesn’t want free vouchers?
So after rounding up our ‘stash’, and calculating how much my sister, niece and I would each get, we made our way to Makro. We arrived at the store at 9am, and lo and behold, there was a long queue already!!
Unfazed by this, we joined our sister and her daughter who were already in the queue with their trolley packed with their junk.
And so the adventure began… We joined the queue and we could see it slowly moving up towards the tent and steel container where people’s stuff was processed and where the vouchers were handed out. By now, cars and trucks were coming in thick and fast at the Makro parking lot, packed with broken tvs, old washing machines, old fridges, broken heaters and practically every broken electric junk you can think of.
Then drama started. At about 10h30, the queue stopped moving. An announcement was made, informing us that they had run out of vouchers. What?! How?! Why?!
Seeing that it was still early in the day, most people did not leave, yet. We also continued to stand in the queue. Those that left with their junk, made us move forward faster towards the front. So we got excited. And then we stood.
Then a ‘rumour’ started circulating in the queue that, no, they made the earlier announcement so that people could leave, and then they would resume with fewer people in the queue. So we got excited again.
By midday, our hopes were starting to fade. The team from ERA closed the steel container, folded their tent and left. Another ‘rumour’ circulated that no, they have just gone to lunch, they will come back and give us ‘our’ vouchers. So we stood…
By 14h00, we were still standing. But by this time, you could see the disappointment in people’s faces. One reason why most of them were still in the queue was the fact that they were wondering what they were going to do with all this junk they had brought in. How were they going to carry it back? Some of them had hired vans and small trucks to come drop them off at Makro, on the understanding that they would get their vouchers, redeem them at Makro and get a taxi home.
By 14h30 it dawned on us that we definitely ain’t getting no vouchers today!! Sad, but trying to remain strong, we slowly packed our junk in cars and headed home. Needless to say, we were the laughing stock when we got home, with our Father repeating his, ‘I-told-you-so’ speech to us, and our Mother partly ‘consoling’ us, and partly laughing at us…
Overall, it was a wonderful, fun experience. We felt pity for those who really needed the vouchers and those who had spent their last cent hiring vans to bring them to Makro.
For Makro and ERA, their project was a resounding success judging by the overwhelming response from the public. From what we heard, all the Makros in Durban ran out of vouchers early that morning due to the large numbers of people who came.
ERA is still making a call to the public to come and deposit their junk in their steel containers which have always been stationed by the entrance gates at most Makro stores, only this time, there aren’t any vouchers. You drop your junk and leave! Are we going to do that? Nope! For now, we are keeping our precious junk safely at home, with the hope that, soon, the vouchers campaign will run again… (LOL!!!)
When we look back at this day, we cannot help but laugh at the whole episode. We also console ourselves that at least we got to spend the whole day together, in the baking sun, doing nothing but follow a queue to nowhere!!!
LESSON LEARNT: Life can be hard! But don’t take it too seriously! Loosen-up a bit and laugh at yourself sometimes. It’s good for the soul… 😉
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY MBALI DHLOMO, PUBLISHER & EDITOR, INTUTHUKO NEWSPAPERS & ULUSHO NEWS, KZN