Sunday, 29 March 2015

Clamped Wheels in Bikini Weather

Our seasons started to change this week. For the first time this year I needed a jacket when I left the house. I started wearing long pants and closed shoes. And as I snuggled in bed on cool Tuesday evening I received an email for a casting for a shampoo add. So as I left my flat with my shiny clean hair on Wednesday morning, jacket in tow, I did not expect that I was required to wear a bikini for the casting. Especially as nothing was mentioned in the casting.

As a South African, this is not swimsuit weather.

As I walked into the building I was the second to arrive. And as the model and I sat in silence waiting for our turn the casting director asked if we had our bikinis on….

“Its ok, we have some scarves here, and we can improvise”

I had been through a similar situation before and didn’t feel like a second round.

“I live about ten minutes drive away. I’ll quickly go fetch mine"

Thankfully I was there early enough for this to be an option. So I drove home, grabbed a bikini and drive back again. As I looked for a parking spot I noticed a hardware store across the street. I needed to buy a few nails and bits and pieces to secure cabling in our flat so I decided I would park there, audition, and buy what I needed upon my return. Bikini castings do not generally require any greatly skilled performance. They tend to be more about the bikini.

I walked into the building as if on cue as the 5 of us were called in to do the casting.

Myself and the first girl to arrive where bikini clad, and the others were making plans with the eclectic collection of scarves provided by the casting agent. And as we stood, bikini and otherwise clad, it felt as if the casting was never going to start. The casting director was not having a good day. In the space that I had been away a car had been stolen, so the casting director was trying to help, but not much can be done in such a situation. The memory card on the camera was full, and someone had not pitched up to help out with our casting. The casting director's day was getting worse. 

Distractions aside, we eventually did our bikini casting, and I ran into the hardware store to get what I needed. After a semi successful purchase I walked over to my car. Imagine my surprise when my wheel was clamped. Bag in hand I looked at my clamped wheel. Upon which the owner started yelling at me.

“This is private property. You can’t just stop here.”

The staff jumped in in an attempt to save me from some of the wrath by explaining to the owner that I had been in the store and had purchased items from them. He was not satiated.

“I saw you go off to the audition. Its R250 to unclamp your wheel”

“Yes. And I also needed items from your hardware store. So I went in to audition and then came to your store”

I wanted to add that perhaps if he was nicer to his customers I might not be the only person in the store. Instead I went with

“As I was a patron to the store, I assumed it wouldn’t be a problem” and as the parking belonged to shopping centre in which the store was situated. Although I could see semantics wasn’t going to win me any points.

The continued yelling just confirmed what I thought. The store assistants attempted to jump in and help again. Clearly there weren’t any other patrons in the store.

And in spite of all the yelling I held my ground relatively well, not showing that I was intimidated. The owner eventually relinquished and settled:

“If you put R50 in the charity box I’ll unclamp your wheel”

I didn’t think I can handle all that much more of the bullying, so I settled for a fifth for what he was originally hassling me for I left with my head held high.

As I drove back I thought to myself that if the poor girl whose car was stolen had stopped where I had stopped, literally across the street from where she had been, her wheel might have been clamped and her car wouldn’t have been stolen. Or if the owner wasn’t busy harassing patrons he might have noticed that a car was stolen right under his nose.  Or if I hadn't gone back to fetch my bikini it might have been mine.

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