Mechanics, plumbers and electricians all over the world charge an arm and a leg. When you need wiring done or your car breaks down it is like saying goodbye to any amount of money that you managed to save in your account. If you are a woman too, well, you have lost the battle before the war has even began.
What I will give to the western world though is that if your car breaks down the chances are you will not have to go back a few weeks later. These kind of personnel have had adequate training and a certificate proving that they are qualified to do the job. On this side of the world, it is trial and error. If you’re lucky you will not have to go back to fix the same fault, if you are not lucky not only will you have to fix that fault but something else will miraculously mess up on your car.
A year ago my A-C packed up. I was told that the motor and the valve needed replacing. I paid almost 1,000 GHS to get it fixed and do some patch work on the car. A few weeks later I turned on the A-C only to have hot air blowing in my face. It was the motor, the same motor I had paid a lot of money to buy a new one, not only that but my battery died too. Which is surprising as it was not that old. I am pretty certain my battery was replaced with an old one, and the mechanic probably swapped it although I don’t have the proof because it looked like mine. He probably drained it of all the fluid.
It’s been a year now and I still roll my windows down, by the time I got it through to my cousin that his mechanic had shafted me time had gone, my cousin is laid back and I know he didn’t argue at all. I however gave the car to my cousin and didn’t know where this mechanic was so there you go.
However, when the shocks went kaput on me last week, I decided to find my own mechanic. It was close to my house and any issues I could walk over and blast him. A few people had used him and he seemed more reliable than some (they are never totally reliable). However, I think he saw my money tree planted at the back of my house and wanted to shake me of all my money.
I asked him to find out the price of the shocks on Wednesday, on Thursday he told me that it was 300GHS. I had some rainy day money set aside, unfortunately it pissed down as I had to pay for this car to be fixed. On the Friday the car was rattling as I drove down the rather rough road from my house to the main road, so I had to get it fixed. I went there first thing in the morning and gave him the money plus an extra 50GHS for the fan that had gone and 20GHS for some other fault that he managed to find.
Around lunchtime he called and told me that he was at the shop and the price had gone up to 500GHS. The dollar had gone up in 24 hours apparently and I had to pay the difference. Let alone the fact that this item was probably purchased months ago at a cheaper rate, plus if the dollar goes up my salary stays the same, how did the price go up so drastically in the last 24 hours.
I took to the phone incandescent with rage, the mechanic did not speak English so I forced out this twi with anger on top of that, smother just looked at me once in a while chipping in to correct my use of the Akan language. If the dollar goes up, my salary doesn’t and I asked you yesterday what the price is, I was shouting which made him shout, but all I could hear were some tired excuses. So I tell him rather to calm down, he can tell that I am angry so the worst thing he can do is raise his voice. He then goes on once again about the dollar, so I tell him that I will not accept it, he must sell it at the price he told me, if he knew the dollar was going to go up he should have said. Then the mechanic said I should talk to the shop owner and I repeated what I said and told him that he is a business man, he thinks he is cheating me but what will happen, I go to him once but never again, neither will I go to the mechanic, so you both lose business. If he is honest and gives me the best price, I tell other people and his business goes on.
I didn’t stay on the line to listen to the rest, I was so upset as this was 300GHS I didn’t need especially after having to fork out for new spark plugs the week before.
I got to the mechanic that evening and I was told by the mechanic that he got it for 400GHS, I said I will have to owe him then, I don’t know if he and the guy were in cahoots to pull a fast one on me or that was really the price, but I seriously have zero money now and so he’s going to have to wait a long time for the balance.
I am praying that nothing else goes wrong with my car because if I end up having to park and take tro-tro to work. Well then I am definitely going to go back to London, sitting on a sweaty bus with the unwashed is not my idea of fun. I would rather stay at home in darkness to be fair.