A Fraudulent TransactionBy Thandi Mkhatshwa

A Fraudulent Transaction

By Thandi Mkhatshwa

Published on Fri, Oct 16 2009 by Thandi Mkhatshwa

South Africa--I am not the kind of a person who likes to get involved in illegal activities. I mean, so far I don’t have a criminal record or anything. But I guess there is always a first time for everything.  A fraudulent transaction that my brother and I were a part of at Dun store took both of us by surprise (For fear of maybe getting myself into trouble I have decided to change the name of the shop).

 Last week I took my 22-year-old brother shoe shopping.  After checking in so many stores with no luck of finding the perfect pairs of shoes for him, our search finally led us to Dun.  The shop was very crowded, as many people had received their social grants and all. We joined the crowds and started looking around for potential shoes. At first my brother and I thought we wouldn’t find anything worthy of our money, but then one of the store’s salesmen approached us and started helping us search. The salesman eventually pulled out a formal yet stylish pair of black shoes. My brother and I liked it and the price wasn’t too bad either.

 We told the salesman that we would take it but also added that we still needed another pair of shoes for my bother, possibly a pair of sneakers.  At this point I was feeling tired after queuing at the bank to withdraw some cash and walking into almost every clothing and shoe shop at Acornhoek plaza. I sat down on one of the chairs holding the first pair of shoes we had found for my brother. But the salesperson took the shoes out of my hands and held on tight to them.

At first I thought nothing of it until he made us a proposal that shocked both my brother and I.  The salesman whispered to us that he could reduce the price to next to nothing, for a small fee of course. He further went on to explain that he does this sort of thing all of the time and that it would benefit us because we would be spending less on something that’s expensive. My bother and I looked each other with confusion written all over our faces. We were like huh?

I finally asked him how exactly he planned on doing this. He simply said he removes the original price tags of the shoes and replaces them with new ones with a cheaper price on them. This sounded very suspicious to me, so I went on to check all the price tags on the same shoes we had chosen just in case he was trying to pull a fast one on us. The prices seemed very legit.

From the looks of things it seemed as if the sales man, who was helping us, is not the only one who does this. I think most of sales people are also involved in this kind of dealing. The sales man just went on about this deal and tried to convince us to take it. But at the back of my head all I could think about was the fact that this would be illegal transaction.  If I said yes I would also be committing a crime.  I thought to myself, ‘the owner of the shop must be losing a lot of money because of this.’

I pulled my brother aside and talked to him about this, but he reckoned that it was a good deal and that we should take it. I told him I didn’t like this at all, but crazy enough I listened to him anyway and made the deal with the salesman.

The salesman and my brother quickly picked the second pair of shoes, sneakers this time. He then told me to go pay then return to him to give him his share of the deal. I could feel him watching me as I went to pay for the shoes. Maybe he was afraid that I would walk out without giving him his share.  I am not sure. All I know is that my heart was beating faster like it was going to jump out of my chest.

When I paid the cashier struggled to find my change, and the sales man must have seen this as an opportunity for him to make his move. He reappeared out of the blue and offered to go ask for change at the next shop. This was the perfect way for the sales man to get his money from us without raising any suspicions. The cashier gave him the money, then we left with him. He cashed the money and gave us our change. I also gave him his share of the deal. But after doing so I felt so dirty. It’s this kind of thing that ruins the South African economy and I couldn’t believe I was part of this fraudulent transaction. I don’t think I will be doing this kind of thing again, ever!


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