Seriously, buying a kitchen or other electrical appliance here is definitely a challenge. For one, you never know what kind of plug it’s going to come with – Euro or South African? Three-prong or two-prong Euro? this makes a difference in what kind of outlet adapter you need. And the two-prong Euro plugs are sometimes flimsy, simply falling out of the outlet.
But there are quality issues as well. I have a friend who swears that European manufacturers send their B and C quality products to Africa, the ones they couldn’t sell in Europe because of production defects. The following story another friend told me recently seems to underscore that point:
I have had the most interesting time buying small appliances here in South Africa. First, I purchased three clock radios for our bedrooms. Right off I realized that one of the radios could not be tuned into any stations without huge amounts of static. Took it back for a refund. Several days later, my daughter found that hers no longer played the radio either. Took it back for a refund as well — by the way, these were Phillips (usually quite a good name, I believe!)
Earlier this week, I bought an electric water kettle (Russell Hobbs) that upon first usage dripped water from the bottom. Not just a little water — it gushed out the bottom. Upon its return to Checkers, the clerk shrugged and suggested that someone must have dropped the box. So I drove to Boardmans where someone suggested I will find high quality goods and purchased a Mellerware kettle there. Worked great the first day. Yesterday, it wouldn’t turn on. I returned it today and got a different one. Guess what? It doesn’t work! It won’t stay on, just keeps popping off. If I hold down the switch for 2 minutes, I can make a lovely cup of tea and deliberate my incredible string of bad luck.
I guess I’ve learned my lesson — always keep the boxes and receipts! I found myself digging through the rubbish bin at the street to rescue the boxes from the clock radios.