The New Telkom Store at Sandton City: A True Story

Telkom store in Sandton City
Telkom store in Sandton City

In the eight years we have lived with our current landline, I actually have largely good things to say about my experiences with Telkom, especially with respect to fault-reporting and speed of fault resolution. But this story is too funny not to share. No embellishment is required.

On Thursday, I walk into the new-ish Telkom store in Sandton City (to sort out some non-urgent landline-related paperwork I haven’t bothered to prioritise until now). The store is large, airy, modern and bright. Besides a payment counter to the right as you walk in, there are two counters. Each one has a large sign above it, in big, bold, modern type-face:

“HOME” and

Telkom: "Home" and "Mobile" (ostensibly)
Telkom: “Home” and “Mobile” (ostensibly)

I need assistance with my home phone and I want to respect the clearly demarcated division of labour, so I initially approach the desk sporting the “HOME” sign above it. The gentleman behind that desk is on the phone so I smile at his colleague who does not look busy. (I am the only person in the store, besides three employees).

Me: Hi! I would like to sort out some paperwork for my landline. I have all the documents here as per what I was told I needed by the Rosebank branch a while ago… (I launch into great detail about what I have done to date and what I understand I still need to do instore).

Telkom teller: You need to go back to Rosebank.

Me: No, no. You don’t understand. I haven’t handed in any documents yet, so I’d rather just do it here.

Telkom teller: No, you need to go to Rosebank because we only deal with mobile in this store.

I pause, look up, and allow my eye to settle on the “home” sign above us.

Me: Um, but there’s a big sign that says “HOME” right there (I point at the sign.

Telkom teller: That’s just for decoration.

(I would just like to state, for the record, that those were his words VERBATIM).

Me: No, come on. (smiling).

Still no reaction from said gentleman.

I really believe that the only rational explanation is that he has an odd sense of humour, despite the fact that he looks very serious.

There is pregnant pause which I feel compelled to fill. (Still smiling)

Me: Are you joking?

Telkom teller: No. I am not joking. We get alot of people coming in here just like you, wanting to sort out home phone issues.

(You do? Surprise!)

Telkom teller: But we’re the mobile store.

Me: Really?

Telkom teller: Yes

Me: I see

But I still can’t quite believe it and I’m not quite ready to give up just yet…

Me: Gosh, I didn’t even know that Telkom did mobile!

Telkom teller: You didn’t KNOW we did mobile?

Me (gathering my thoughts and searching my memory bank): Oh yes. Doesn’t the 8ta mobile brand belong to Telkom?

Telkom teller: Yes! (he’s animated now and apparently relieved that we’re finally on the same page)

I look around the store. I can’t see any 8ta branding. Not a sign. Not a pamphlet. Nothing.

Me: Shew, so nothing to do with Telkom landlines, then.


Me: That does seem like a curious business decision. I’m sure your rent here is huge plus there’s alot of empty space. You would have thought one could have squeezed in another desk for “home” phones. You even have the big “HOME” sign…You know, the one for “decoration”?

Deafening silence.

I finally give up, smile and bid him farewell. I still haven’t gone to Telkom in Rosebank. Instead I went back to Sandton City and took pictures of the store for this blog.

Starstruck & Dumbstruck in Sandton City

After my adventures in the countryside, I decided it was high time for a trip to Sandton City. I was coming down the escalators, when I spotted SA celeb, Marc Lottering. Mr Lottering was in classic celebrity disguise: dark glasses. Only snag is: sunglasses are less effective when your trademark is an Afro the size of Lion’s Head. A bizarre thing happened once I’d spotted him – it was like a celebrity spell had been cast over me. I started rushing towards him. All I could think was that I just HAD TO get a picture of us for Heat magazine! Normally, I can think of nothing more lame than:

Dear Heat,
This is me and Amor Vittone in the Centurion Mall!!!!

Dear Sandra,
Great pic! Thanks for sharing!!! If you look closely, you can see Amor’s cellulite on her left thigh, which proves the point we made in our Feb. edition. How awesome is that??!!!??


Normally, I’d be like “who gives a cr*p if you saw Amor in Centurion?” But here I was, trying to pluck up the courage to ask Marc Lottering to pose while I grinned beside him. Fortunately, he saved me from myself because he practically ran away as soon as he spotted that demented, starstruck glint in my eye…

Eventually, I got a grip and continued my shopping. It was at my next stop – the Clicks till points – that I had a disturbing realisation. My young, vibey cashier wanted to know if I was keen on hearing a Zuma joke. I nodded and he proceeded to ask me what the President’s surname was, when spelled backwards. I’m going to blame my response not on Lady-of-Leisure-mush-brain, but on the hideous realisation that J-Z may well be our very own Berlusconi. My response was: “Um, what is Zuma’s surname, again?” Can you friggin’ believe it? The cashier looked at me strangely. He was probably thinking he’d rather have AMUZing old J-Z in the house, than this ditsy housewife. I couldn’t really blame him. Nonetheless, I still thought I could leave the till point with both my mouthwash AND my pride. So I did what any ditsy housewife would do in that situation. I started babbling about polygamy. But instead of telling the cashier I thought it was an archaic practice designed to subjugate women, I started spewing some neo-liberal B.S. about preserving African customs. WTF? I am pleased to report that my cashier promptly set me straight and told me he thought polygamy was “an excuse for infidelity” before telling me I should sign-up as a spin doctor for J-Z.

Fair enough.

I decided to hide my humiliation amongst Woolworths’ shoe racks. And that was when I came across this advert.

I realise this sounds about as sexy as an ad for granny pants, but I confess that I got quite excited about it. After being told by various personal trainers that I “pronate” or “supinate” or “overpronate” or whatever, I finally went to see a professional to uncover the mystery of my disobedient feet. He put me on a treadmill and made little videos of me running and walking. His prognosis was as follows: I don’t pronate, I don’t supinate. I just have VERY broad feet. So I’m a perfect candidate for Woolworths’ “extra width”, “added cushioning” shoes – along with South Africa’s arthritic geriatric community. Super!