I pushed the door and stepped inside the Romanian shop called La Dumitrescu in London, trying to hide my enthusiasm as I was accompanied by a non-romanian. It will take far more than a lady behind the till, shouting her life story into a mobile of the latest generation to put me off. Or the fact that there are not many products to choose from. However I did appreciated the interior design of the shop. To make a shop look like it has plenty on offer for its customers is a challenge and I know that as I failed, last time I tried to do so for a shop in South Wimbledon.
Confused, I stop myself right on time before having a go at asking for Romanian sausage in English. The lady clearly speaks Romanian and there is no English name for ‘Parizer’, a Romanian sausage..
On the shelves, to my left, bottles of wines but I change my mind when I remember that I can get the same wine cheaper in the Turkish shops from north London. Looking again at the products on display I get the impressions that most of the stuff on sale came hidden under a lorry. I realise that I am just being nasty and walk towards the lady on the phone;
‘Do you have Romanian beer’ I manage to ask
‘That’s what he said! Yeah, I know…err there in the fridge’
I took four beers out of the fridge; with as little noise it was possible, making sure that the lady on the phone doesn’t lose the plot of her life.
Guessing that it will take a while before she will take the £ 20.00 note , I pick up a copy of’ Romani in UK’ ( Romanians in UK) newspaper in front of me and start reading a cheesy editorial by Miss Cristina Irimie, the owner of the newspaper.
Every sentence of the editorial tells me that ‘we’ are ashamed of being Romanians and that we should be united in a strong community and she is ‘the one’ who will save the Romanians from an imminent social and ethnic death. Well, one has no choice but to admire the noble intentions of C I, yet I just can’t ignore a sneaky feeling that something is not right about her.
I know she has her own cleaning business. I build quickly a motto for her marketing strategy: Get a proud romanian to clean your toilets! Pay for 1 Romanian, get 1 free!
I am sure that Miss I pays her employees the minimum wage. Hopefully, the minimum wage in UK and not the minimum wage in Romania that is. I am nasty again and I know that but I just can’t get over the fact that she keeps insinuating that her newspaper represents the Romanians in uk ,and that includes me and the sausage in front of me.
On her website, states that the project Romani in UK it has been set up as a philanthropic organisation in order to help those in need. Very honourable indeed, but I still don’t understand why she runs two more business beside the cleaning agency. The newspaper offers lots of opportunities but not for its readers. The opportunities are for the dubious companies advertised. One consultancy agency offers to help newly arrived and penniless Romanians,to open a bank account in exchange for a £ 200.00 fee. The offer is hard to ignore as it plastered all over the newspaper and it makes a point by saying that you don’t need proof of address. The rest of adverts are shared between some pubs, restaurants, travelling to Romania by bus and connected to each other like a magic circle. Suddenly I don’t feel lucky being represented by Romanians in UK.
‘£ 18.73 ‘says the blonde lady, holding her mobile between her shoulder and chin with dexterity.
Confused, I push the £ 20.00 note one more inch towards her. I can see her red nails picking up the note in a way that makes me think that she has no experience in dealing with money. The funny thought that she is married to a lorry driver goes through my mind. And the lorry driver owns the shop. Wait a second, £ 19.00 sounds a bit expensive for four beers and a sausage. I am looking at what is on the till in front of me and I can see wafers and chocolate.
-I want those, says the person next to me.
-She says that’s what you need, if you want to have a Romanian dinner.I am looking at the newspaper in my hand and I take a second look to decide if I buy it or not. It says a £ 1.00 on it. But I am sure there is no refund policy. I can afford £ 1.00, but something inside stop’s me and I put the newspaper back on the till.My brain is still searching for a marketing motto: ‘ A proud cleaner is a better cleaner?!’ Nahh it’s not good enough and I don’t mean just the Romanian dinner.