A few days ago, I wrote a post, entitled ‘Jamaicans are selfish and often rewarded for it‘. My main point was that ‘Driven by the urge to be selfish, people act in a way that gives them what they want, and really do not anticipate negative consequences, in part, because they rarely come into play.’ But, I also find that the unanticipated negative consequences are often not seen as the fault of those who acted selfishly, but due to some other factor, such as the ‘wickedness’ of other people, or ‘just how the big people act’. Jamaica is little stories.
Yesterday, I was trying my best to get a small white ball into a hole a little bigger than it. I wanted to do this so badly that I agreed with a friend to go out at 6am with him and his daughter. Actually, she had to go to a class just after 10, so this was a good way to achieve that and avoid doing the little bally thing afternoon, when the heat is likely to be high. Contrary to the usual pattern, we were met with sheet lightning, and went out gingerly. It was a nice walk, not totally spoiled for my friend and me, and certainly not spoiled for his daughter, who hits the ball miles. We finished in good time and they went off to class. I hung around the scoring area and had some refreshments and chatted with a few other people who were milling around. I then went home to cool off and change and get ready to go back for lunch, which was included in the tournament entrance fee.
Back I went for my lunch, and it was worth the effort. I waited for friends who had started later, and when they arrived, I recommend they have the lunch. They did, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Other players came in and ordered their meals, and they came…for some. The dreaded had happened. The food had run out! What!? How could that be?
Well, the answer’s not that complicated. Many Jamaicans, including golfers, won’t commit to an event in advance, and expect to still be able to express their interest at the last moment, without disappointment. So, if you have parties, or entertainment events, where people are encouraged to reply early whether or not they will attend, replies are often late or not at all. People then arrive at ‘the gate’, expecting to enter and have a good time. Often, a good time is had by the patrons. But, the organisers have a nightmare.
In this case, it’s quite normal for a caterer, without firm numbers of people to serve, will err on the side of caution, assume a number like 50, and prepare accordingly. At the worst, they may figure, you will have people who don’t want the food, or people who will be happy with any food (even if not the gourmet offering). That’s manageable, and avoid waste of higher costs ingredients. So, it was. The lucky ones, like me, ate Spanish rice, curried goat, baked barbecued chicken, salad and a slice of pear.
The less lucky ones got a burger and fries, with a piece of lettuce and tomato. Let’s not ask how they enjoyed that.
But, rather than see the fault for this in themselves, what do some Jamaicans do? They look to blame someone else. It just so happens that yesterday was the funeral of former Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke. In no time, word was that the food meant for the golfers’ lunch had been diverted to the funeral reception. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but in the world of rumours, that was a plausible one. It may be better to feed hungry mourners than a bunch of good-for-nothing golfers.
We may not be unique in this behaviour, but we add a certain flourish.