So bribe culture is a thing… Who knew?

Apparently I can still be naive. When someone attempts to solicit a bribe from me, I don’t take the hint because it doesn’t even cross my mind. Here’s what happened…

This weekend, I attended my brother’s wedding on Saturday. He had already arranged that I would be the one driving his two children back to his ex wife after the reception. This is convenient because I stay about five minutes from her, and I don’t drink. (Also, I no longer use drugs. Three years and six months clean now.) He arranged this before my car accident, but since my car is not yet repaired, he rented a car for me to use, which I drove there on Saturday and returned on Sunday morning.

All went well, but when I returned the car, alone – I was the additional driver although it was rented in his name, and he hadn’t yet arrived when I got the car back to Avis in Rosebank… the Avis guy inspected the car.

He went right around the car, looking for dents and scratches. Then, he got on his hands and knees and used his smart phone torch to check under the car. It turns out there is a light scratch on the front left bumper, that can not be seen unless you know where to look. He found it very quickly as well, almost as if he knew it was there.

Then he persuaded me to sign a form saying I saw it and it wasn’t noticed in our initial inspection of the vehicle, which I did. This is where naive me failed to realize that he was attempting to solicit a bribe. My brother arrived a few minutes later, and tried to bribe the man, but he said he couldn’t take the money because it was already written down.

Here’s the thing: He would have taken the bribe. He was clearly trying to solicit one. I was just too naive to see it. Taking hints is not something I have ever been good at…

I wonder how long he’s carried out this scam? Maybe I’m wrong and this was just opportunistic, but I really think that he knew exactly what he was looking for, and maybe he does it every time someone returns that particular car.

This was really shocking for me… I know our metro cops solicit bribes, because they are infamous for it, and make it quite clear… “What are we going to do about this”, or the suggestion that I can “pay a spot fine”, when of course there is no such thing as a spot fine. But an Avis guy? News to me.

When it comes to cops, I prefer to avoid paying any bribe at all costs, if possible. I did twice pay such a bribe because those cops gave me no choice, but normally when I refused, they’d let me go without even a ticket. But I had no idea that this bribe culture was bigger than just the cops. How far does bribery and corruption go in this country? I didn’t know how naive I could still be. Corruption in our government is well known, but on this small scale with the guy in the yard who inspects the Avis car being returned… This really took me by surprise.


About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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One Response to So bribe culture is a thing… Who knew?

  1. bbnewsab says:

    Have a look here, Jerome: .

    Praise the Lard (Lord) for not living in North Korea, South Sudan or Somalia.


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