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I unfold the list in my hand. Everything in it has been bought except for a jar of mayonnaise. My eyes dart back and forth, searching the section for where to find it. Oh, there!—the custom blue cap of my favorite brand calls me from the extreme end of a corner.

“Whew. Big, big.” I say to no one in particular, scanning the row of large mayonnaise jars on the shelf. There’s no way I am going to buy more than I need.

Frozen chicken and flat bread in hand, I find my way to the counter, cash out and pick my other stuff in the private locker.

I head over to the other supermarket across the road being very sure they have the very size I need and must get, by all means.

When very familiar with the aisles and sections in a big supermarket, you go straight for what you want and that is what I am doing.

My hunt is there and it costs 575 Naira.

Just one item in hand, I near the counter with the shortest queue—I mean, that is just the smart thing to do, isn’t it? —and I hear the cashier announcing, Please I don’t have change o, just like a typical conductor is wont to do but only less lousily. He seems a fine young man, even his shirt is looking brand new.

‘I don’t have 230, ma. I told you already I don’t have change.’ I hear him say to the tall woman in front of me. He has just finished costing her goods and counting the cash she handed him.

‘What do we do now?’ In her voice sits a measure of dilemma.

‘How much is this one?’ She points to an array of stick-sweets and my eyes went to the chubby little girl beside her—what a lucky child.

‘210.’ He answers while still working at his computer

‘Ehn? All of these or just one?’

‘Are you buying it or not—’

‘Ahah! They don’t talk to customers like that,’ The woman right behind me cuts him short. ‘She probably didn’t realize this type is that expensive.’

‘Yeah…’ I try to lend my voice while the first woman walks away visibly pissed. I am wondering why an ordinary lollipop will be N210. That’s enough to get a tin of sardine, please. Besides, sweets are no good for teeth says the dentists. Durh.

‘But I wasn’t forcing her to buy it.’ The young man argues.

That’s not the point, I think. He could have been more respectful and…

It’s my turn.

I hand the man a total of 700 naira in 500- and 200-naira notes, hoping he’d have change for me. So many things we do in faith, don’t we?

He prints out my receipt, opens his drawer and marries the printout with a badly-torn-then-badly-taped 100 naira note.

He hands these to me. ‘Please don’t reject the money o,’ and he moves on to the next customer as I try to figure out why I am holding a terrible money and being asked not to reject.

‘No, wait, please,’ I say. ‘I have to reject this money. I’m sorry. It’s too, too bad.’

‘I’ve told you I don’t have change! There’s no other cash here. Please just manage the N100.’

I remember seeing some lower denominations in my possession earlier so I reach for my purse.

I have an extra 70naira there! This is incredible. Blessed intervention, I think.

‘Okay. Please hand over the N200 from the cash I gave you.’ I say to him, ‘I’ll give you this instead to make it N570…is it possible to overlook the remaining N5 balance?’

‘No oo. I’ve been overlooking N5 for customers since morning…’ For reasons best known to him, he places the total cash I had given him on his table.

‘Alright, I understand.’ I sigh and pick my money. ‘The culmination of several N5 being let go to customers is actually something too…’

If they ask us customers, huh, we truly don’t want to run down businesses. Plus, it’s usually tough for these counter staff to account for their sales with all these imbalances when they clock out. I turn to the lady in uniform putting the jar in the custom nylon.

‘Nah, don’t bother with that anymore,’ I make to leave feeling a bit sad because I really need this mayonnaise.

‘But I’ve printed your receipt already?’ The young cashier says.

I feel bad. ‘Yeah… I know. But you didn’t have change. I tried to sort things but didn’t have the N5 to complete my payment too.’

And really, I think to myself, I can’t take the bad N100 note from him, either. My scruples wouldn’t let me spend it elsewhere, so at the end of the day, I’d be at a lost for being desperate for mayonnaise?

‘Okay, bring the 570.’

‘Oh. Thank you.’

‘Don’t thank me because it’s not from my heart.’

‘Okay, thanks to the management of this place.’ I smile, collect my receipt and go my way.

Few minutes later, I am in the vehicle going home. I am thinking about why it was cool that I should get N100 instead of N125. I am wondering why I shouldn’t reject a terrible note offered me, why my balance of N5 can’t be overlooked when several other customers must have forfeited N5, N10, N15, N25 etc., and even N230 in that place.

…………………….

Yaaay! Thank you for reading my story up till the end! Feedback is welcome. Thanks!

Now to my promise! I looked it up and mayonnaise is incredibly easy to make. So in case you can’t find it in the stores or supermarket, or there happens to be a problem of ‘change’ (winks) and you have to leave there empty handed, here is a recipe for Homemade mayonnaise! We can never be outsmarted. Lol.

Ingredients:

One large egg, 150ml vegetable oil, a pinch of salt, one tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar for its slightly sour taste(optional)

Method:

Wash and break the egg. Separate the yolk from the egg white (if you are self stirring) and place yolk in a wide bowl. Add salt to the yolk and whisk together until well combined. You can use whole egg if using a whisker or blender.

Using a teaspoon, gradually add the oil, drop by drop, to the salty egg mixture. Stir continuously as you add oil. The mixture will begin to thicken as you add the oil.

If the mixture becomes too thick, add a few drops of lemon or vinegar to thin it out.

Continue stirring until very smooth or till your desired texture.

Homemade mayonnaise can stay for up to a week but it is highly recommended to consume within three days and please store in you refrigerator!

Yours mayonnaise-tically, lol

Pamela

 

Photo credit: Google Images

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10 Replies to “What is fair? —A flash fiction (plus a recipe for homemade mayonnaise!)”

    1. I read this with a smile on my face. I recognise the overworked, tired cashier’s plight. But primarily love the way you can make the most mundane task of buying mayonnaise something so readable. I saw every single detail through your words, from the lucky boy who gets a lollipop to the over torn badly taped 100 naira note. Brilliant Pamela and thanks for the mayo recipe. I can’t wait to try it and fail twice before finally getting it right. Lol

  1. I really admire the way you write
    I could read your stuff all the time!
    It’s brain picking, can’t explain more

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