Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES – On a normal day, you plan to go shopping early in the morning so you can get back quickly and make the most of your time, but, the illusion of having a productive day is quickly shattered.
Even though the bakery that corresponds to me to get my bread roll is only a 5 minute walk away, I have to go to another one that is 15 minutes away as the bakery in my area goes to great efforts to make its dough more and more dry and sour.
I remember that a customer once said: “God this bread… one day, it’s going to give us an ulcer.”
It sounds funny but this is a very serious matter. I guess it’s the only way to bear with a problem that has been put forward for years at neighborhood meetings and in the end the response was: “it’s because of the flour, which is poor quality.”
People were outraged, but for nothing, because everybody knows that the real cause of this problem is the low wages that bakers receive, but nobody dares to mention it.
Then, after I managed to get my basic breakfast roll, I went to the fish market to buy some chopped fish which would later become my cat food. Located in the “El Progreso” complex and in spite of it being repaired recently, the fish market highlights the dirtiness of the ground drenched in fishwater and its nauseating smell of rotting food.
As if that wasn’t enough, you run into a line that literally never moves forward, in this place where you can hardly breathe. If you take a sweeping shot of people’s faces there, many of their expressions are gloomy, especially those of old people.
Minutes pass by and people keep calm and in order, but after half an hour you can feel the restlessness. More people come and are taken aback, they examine the line without being able to believe how long it is.
“That’s just how it is.”
A woman responds cynically in the face of a newly-arrived man’s distress, who didn’t take long to give up on getting what he wanted.
Others who came last tried to get in first. Protests, cries and arguments broke out. For a moment, there was chaos but then order was slowly reestablished.
Lastly, when you manage to get into the place, it’s already normal to find a man or a woman with a scale in their hand to verify the weight of the product and this happens at other distribution points too. They always come back complaining that they were sold less than what they paid for.
Apathetic salespeople add what they were missing to make up the weight and continue to scam the next customers.
They also have a reason for doing this which, for the majority of people, seems unappealable:
“Everybody steals here.”