There's this lady in South Orange, New Jersey. Let me be clear (said in my Obama voice): There should be an anti-trust investigation of this woman, because she is a tyrant running a monopoly.
She owns the only Caribbean restaurant in the neighborhood.
Every stereotype of the Caribbean restaurant experience and owner is epitomized by this lady. Her spot is very unwelcome. You walk in there with trepidation, almost bowing your head as she glowers at you from across the counter. She doesn't say hi, just a guttural "Yes?". Hmm...I am telling you. You make your order, and God forbid if you stutter. You must be precise, and if you are trying to feed a medium-large family, you might want to check out the Micky Ds by the corner 'cos there's no way in spicy hell she's fulfilling that order.
In fact, I believe the reason her food tastes so good is because of the extra wickedness that she infuses in her sauces. For real.
And her stuff is irresistible.
But, if you really want to get yourself in some serious jerk spice wahala with this hijacker of markets, I dare you to order some extra plantain. Do it. See what happens. There have been documentaries, crime shows, exposes, Oliver Stone movies made about people who asked for extra plantain at this lady's restaurant. People have disappeared. APBs have been declared. Weapons have been drawn.
"We don't have no extra plantain."
You know me. I am stubborn, and I want my extra plantain. Every morsel of rice and beans must be accompanied by a slice of plantain as it makes it's death march to my mouth. That's just the way it is has to be, come on now. So I make my case to the monopolist.
"My sister...I'll pay for it. Whatever it takes. Please."
"No. Extra. Plantain". She pauses her pen in the midst of order taking, and glares at me.
"Ok, double. I'll pay double. In fact, here's my card...take whatever you need ma for the plantain."
Now she's pissed. "I said no extra plantain!!" Then she scowls at my card.
"And we cash only."
I pick up my phone and call the FBI about a domestic terrorist that may be laundering money in South Orange, NJ.
Africans do the same thing too o, wipe that grin off your face, my friend. Go to any Nigerian restaurant, and ask them to exchange the tripe or beef in your Efo Riro soup with stockfish, my favorite protein. Go ahead, do it. Say, "abeg, let me get some stockfish instead." You'll witness a huddle in the back kitchen...with the chef, waiter, owner, and dishwasher speaking in hushed tones like the Lakers during their last timeout in Game 7 of the NBA finals. Then the waiter comes to deliver the verdict.
"So. Since the stockfish was imported directly from Ijebu Ode this morning, erm...it will be an extra $30, sir."
Fine. Actually, you know what? Not fine. But ok.
Why am I going off like this on a Monday? Well, regardless of the lady and her monopolizing of the Caribbean food industry in New Jersey, I have to say I respect her grind. She's been there for more than 20 years, and even with her serious wahala and madness, she's still kicking. The Chief and Numero Tres went to NJ this weekend sans me, and report that the lady is still doing her thing. And she's not stupid.
Not stupid. For some stuff I was working on, I've been chewing on the Five Basic Laws of Stupidity, spawned by Carlo Cipolla. And I see none of them apply to Big Monopoly Sis Caribe. Let's do the analysis:
- Law 1: Underestimation Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation—in her view, her customer circulation is clocking at a clean 100% stupid, so her estimation is on point.
- Law 2: Independence The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person—just because you are here to buy my food, doesn't mean there aren't other reasons you're stupid.
- Law 3: Loss A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses—"oh, you will not get the plantain, but you will still buy my damn curry goat, and you will use cash, b-oy. you lose, I don't lose. I gain."
- Law 4: Cost Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake—she doesn't forget o. and is not interested in making mistakes. at all. she knows only stupid people use cards, so she de-stupidizes you by denying you the use of the card in her spot.
- Law 5: Danger A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person—thus the immediate de-stupidization process once you enter her store, that way you are not a danger to her.
Na wa o. All this theory just for extra plantain and stockfish, see me see trouble o.
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