Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

What does “It’s Finished” really MEAN???!

with 3 comments

One of the rather ubiquitous terms that we have found here in Ghana has been the use of two simple words:  “It’s Finished”.  However, the meaning of these two words can be different things, depending on the context.   Let’s look at a few examples:

The shared taxi you are in comes to an unintended stop.  After the driver gets out, inspects things, maybe kicks a few tyres, opens the bonnet to inspect, etc…. he may say to you “the taxi is finished”.

What this means is basically that your ride is now over.  Alternative means of transport will now need to be employed.  Negotiation over amount of fare owed will undoubtedly ensue.  However, the degree to which said taxi really is “finished” remains to be seen.  If it is a minor problem, the car could be on the road within hours or days.  However, if it is more serious, it might REALLY be finished… and off it will go to one of the car graveyards…..

However, the more common time you will hear this term is when you are at the (super)market, and usually when you are looking for a particular item.  Our experience has been that if you see something in the shop that you *like*, then you really should employ squirrel like techniques and stockpile whatever it is, as there will be NO guarantee that you will a) ever see this product again or b) if you do see it again, there will be great uncertainty as to how long you might have to wait for that eventuality.

Again, working through an example, we have recently (meaning within the last three months) been out of margarine.  A simple item, one would think – and one that is easily available in the market.   Ah, but not all margarines are created equal.  As Mr. Orwell knows – some margarines are more equal than others.  The one (or two) varieties that we have found that we like, are the ones that actually MELT when you butter your toast.   It is a simple thing, really, and some readers may not think this is a big deal.   But for us, the little things sometimes mean a lot.  And we like our butter on our toast to melt.  So, a particular margarine needs to be purchased.

Ah, but it is not that easy!   This one brand has been “finished” now for months.  There were two shops that stocked it, and both of them are finished.  Due to the somewhat different nature of retail management techniques employed here, we thought we might compile a list of what “It’s Finished” COULD mean.  We are sure there are also additional definitions which we have not yet discovered personally:

“It’s Finished”…. Meaning:

  • We are currently  out of stock;  we should get some within a week (or two)
  • We are currently out of stock.  We don’t know why we bought this item in the first place, so it is unlikely you will ever see said item in this store again.
  • We have no idea what item you are talking about, and maybe we once had it in stock, and maybe we didn’t
  • We do not understand MOST of what you are saying, silly white person.
  • The guy an hour ago just bought the last one of those items, and you are never going to see it again
  • And so on.   You get the idea.

Right!  We’re finished!!!

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Written by Mar(k)

March 17, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Life in Ghana

3 Responses

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  1. great post Mar! Excellent way to finish! haha

    grover

    March 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  2. hI mar and Mark
    a fantastic insight into your very interesting new lives. Keep up the great reporting
    x x x

    Lorri

    March 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    • thanks Lorri! more to follow soon! : )

      Mar Knox

      March 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm


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