On Being Illegal: What Will You Reckon?
“Excuse me, do you have this cigarette?” I asked a 14-year-old boy in a small shop while showing an empty pack of an Indonesian-branded cigarette. He was still drinking a large bottle of orange juice. Beside him was an old man who is busy calling on the phone.
“Errr,” the boy looked hesitated and pointed to the man beside him who appeared to be his father. I understood. I had to wait he finished talking on the phone.
I looked around. This is a phone shop in the city center owned by an Asian man. Seeing how various things are ‘a bit scattered’, including several electrical repairing tools on the table, it seems that the owner ‘has’ and ‘can provide’ everything to what customers might inquire.
I had to wait for some minutes for the owner finished his business on the phone. He looked busy. My friend, Pak Seno, just continued driving the car since we couldn’t park the car in the nearby surroundings. The cigarettes themselves were for an officemate.
After the man finished calling, I asked the same question while showing the pack, “Do you have this cigarette?”
That man looked at me. Then he directly shook his head strongly and said, “No, no no” repeatedly. I was confused. Pak Seno told me me this is the only place where this cigarette is sold. I went out. I felt something’s strange though.
I tried to call Pak Seno telling that I couldn’t get the cigarette. But he didn’t pick up. It seems that he was still charging the phone at the office and forgot to bring it with him. I waited for the car to come then. After a couple minutes, Pak Seno arrived and I got on directly.
I told him what happened. He realized there’s something strange, too.
“Maybe, he’s afraid,” I tried to guess.
“Oh, I just remember that the seller will only sell to the one he knows well,” Pak Seno explained to me.
“Why Pak?” I asked.
“It seems that he sells the cigarettes illegally,” he replied.
“Well, probably. How about if you go and ask again, Pak. Let me drive the car now,” I suggested him as we wanted to get this done.
“I guess it would be the same, Made. Even me, he won’t recognize me,” he said.
Then we went back to the office. We told our friend, Paved, the situation. He said it happens to him sometimes; he was also rejected several times.
“So, is it true that place selling cigarettes, especially this Indonesian brand?” I asked.
“Yes, it does sell. But only certain people can buy it,” Amroe came to join the conversation as he was just back from the kitchen.
“Then how?” I asked him, as to my understanding, he is frequently asked to buy the cigarettes.
“We just need to say the brand, that’s how it’s done” he told us.
“Look around, make sure no one is around, then you directly ask the seller the cigarettes by telling the brand only. Don’t forget to show the money, too,” he added.
Then, Pak Seno and Amroe went back to that shop. Certainly, they could manage to bring the desired cigarettes.
How I Reckon
This is an interesting phenomenon in my observing eyes. I am quite sure that the shop sells the cigarettes illegally. Especially with this Indonesian brand, he got it from sources that don’t pay taxes. You might see that depending on the desired ‘satisfaction’, people will do everything; will seek every attempt to obtain particular needs.
I myself do not smoke – never feel the enjoyment of doing that. But some people might feel smoking is better than having meals, for instance.
We all realize that smoking is not very good for health. Huge scary posters showing different diseases caused by smoking are displayed everywhere – even in the sellers’ shops; on the packages. But, it’s more about WHEN you’re aware, I guess. My suggestion would be, “Do not smoke.” As simple as that.
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