I think I am not going to give out Christmas gifts this year. My wife, daughter and friends will be disappointed but bad omens are following me at my Christmas shopping. There was the encounter with Mr. Boyer at National Hardware last week.
Now another incident has happened at a set of chain stores on Camp Street owned by the same person.
My friends told me that the largest mall in Guyana is being put up by this entrepreneur at the south/eastern end of Camp and Regent Street. It is indeed a gargantuan structure that has overtaken the City Mall built by Lennox John of Splashmin.
Let us get Lennox John out of the way before I expand on the strange behaviour I encountered at these set of resplendent outlets on Camp Street, Tuesday morning. Last week I entered Ashmin’s on High Street owned by Mr. John. At the entrance, a security guard was inspecting the items of a customer, going deeply into her purchases. I remember objecting to that procedure at two prominent retail outlets in Georgetown. It is an unmodern practice that dissolves the privacy of shoppers. Why should a guard see what types of panties a woman has bought?
Let me say this loudly. I don’t care which dangerous, violent drug lord owns which luxurious complex, no one is going through my bags after I have paid for my stuff. I will not allow that to happen to me. Period!
I objected to what was happening to that shopper. I was told it was management’s policy. As I was going upstairs to see management, I saw the owner, Lennox John, on the ground floor. I stated my concern. He agreed to review the policy. I am not optimistic.
But back to Camp and Regent Streets. The first unit in this chain store complex is Essential Shopping Mall at the south/western corner of Camp at Regent. It is a large three-storey setting. I was on the second level perusing the shelves when an attendant asked for my choices. I told her I wasn’t ready. Then the lady stood right next to me like a statue.
I asked what she was doing. She said that she has to stay with me to answer my questions. I indicated that when I have an inquiry I will seek her out. She wouldn’t go away. I asked her to leave but she stated it was company policy for an attendant to accompany each shopper.
I requested to see her supervisor. She repeated the theme. I demanded to see her supervisor too. She came up and repeated the theme.
I called her ignorant when she told me that was the policy of all stores in Guyana. I asked to see the manager. The manager politely informed me that it is the procedure. I sought direction to see the mall’s owner. She refused to tell me the name but advised that I go to Camp and Charlotte Streets where I will be assisted. One more request for the name was met with the words; “I can’t tell you that”.
Next stop was Footsteps Mall at Camp and Charlotte Streets. I was taken to the manager who refused to disclose the identity the owner of this opulent conglomerate on Camp Street.
She indicated that she was not in a position to disclose the investor’s name of the shopping chain but I could make inquiries at another unit named Exclusive Styles.
I called Adam Harris for the store’s owner’s name but he was vague only able to recall her former partner. I got on to Mark Benschop. He didn’t know but said the owner’s brother runs Clippers Barber Shop on Camp Street. Off to Exclusive Styles. I asked for the identity of the investor but was again denied. I waited and was told that I will have an audience with the owner.
She called me into her office. I was stunned. This lady has to be the wealthiest young woman in the Caribbean. She looks to be in the mid-thirties. What is going up at the south/eastern corner of Camp and Regent Streets is the most expensive shopping sprawl in Guyana. I asked the obvious question. She told me ‘Sabita Narine’.
I cautioned her that I was there to write about my experience in her business premises and would quote what she tells me.
She denied that it was company policy to have shoppers have an attendant with them all the time and she didn’t know why five of her managers bluntly refused to give me her name. A rich mystery lady!
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