No Title Is Also A Title

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Disclaimer: If you don’t bank with Standard Chartered Bank, don’t read this piece. This is only for Stanchart clients. Kindly. For the rest, there are some snacks and tea on the table outside the door. Thank you. 

I’m rubbish with money. I know folk who actually budget. They actually sit down every end month and write down where every cent will go. I don’t do that. I tried it once after attending a Centonomy Class years ago but I reverted back to my old ways. What I do is once I have paid the necessary bills and sent some money to save for rainy days, I just wing the rest of the month. God has a way of handling the rest of the month but only if you don’t panic and place your faith and trust in him. The Lord will not let you starve or buy a cocktail for 1,200 because the Lord gives bread and he knows all happy-hour joints. But you have to have faith first. That’s key. 

So how do I monitor my expenditure? I don’t. But I try and I do this by constantly swiping my Visa card. That way I can peek at my statement and wonder what the hell I was doing buying an edible underwear for 800 bob at 2:30am on April 7th 2019. (Stanchart clients don’t judge each other, guys, that’s for the guys eating scones and tea outside the door).

Recently I went to renew my Visa Debit card at the Yaya Center Branch. My old card was peeling at all edges from overuse because I’m always sticking it in PDQ machines. It looked like I peel fruits with it. It was beginning to look ugly and contagious. Honestly it didn’t bother me, but waiters and waitresses were starting to step back with a start every moment I handed it over to pay a bill. It looked like it would infect someone with something that you have to take three capsules twice a day after food to cure. That’s how you know you have a bad disease when you are told to take your meds after a meal. 

Anyway, I go to the banking hall near the bookshop. There are three tellers and a raised table where a young staff sits looking busy. As I fill my form a gentleman in a cap walks in. I notice him because he’s wearing corduroy trousers. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw anyone wearing brown corduroy trousers. When you walk in corduroy trousers they make the same sound a car wiper makes when its raining.  Folk like to throw around the word outliers. A guy runs a marathon in under two hours and he’s slapped with the tag outlier. You find someone who speaks six foreign languages – French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, German and Luo – and people want to call them an outlier. The real outliers are people who dare leave the house in corduroy trousers. It takes great fortitude to wear corduroy trousers.

I have this dark fantasy that one day I will actually witness a bank robbery. That bad guys with guns and hats walk into a bank as I’m filling a form and actually shout for everybody to lie down on the floor as they do in movies and then proceed to rummage through drawers for money, stuffing bills in their pocket. But they don’t hurt anybody. And nobody tries to be a hero or anything like that. I hear a voice of one of them thugs telling the other, “Vaite, ambia huyo msupa akupatie combination ya vault.” And I instantly recognise the voice as someone I know. Because not many people say msupa, at least not in a tense moment like that. And when they are gone and we stand up, dusting ourselves up, bewildered, confused, our ears ringing with adrenaline, someone saying, “Oh my God, did we just get robbed?” as if we it looks like we just disembarked from a luxury cruise, I think to myself, I know one of the thugs! He has a day job. He walks at Jafferys Sports Club! He goes to Mavuno! I know a thug! 

Anyway, I knew – rather disappointedly, I will admit – that this man in a corduroy trousers wasn’t going to rob the bank. Because corduroys are so heavy, you can’t run in them. It’s like running in wet jeans. You will be caught. I overhear the man telling the teller, “Habari yako?…Eh he?… Kazi iko salama?” They must know each other. “Haya, I’d like an RTGS.” The teller says something and he says. “…yes..for  14 -million.” 

I slowly turn to look at him again. A good look, this time. My first look was a casual amused look because of his trousers. This second look was of, intrigue. He’s moving 14-mil as casually as I send my grandmother an Mpesa of 3K. He’s in his late 40s. Or early 50s. Definitely a businessman. He looks like the kind of guy who deals with spare parts but also farms on the side. Maybe he’s paying salaries. Maybe he’s just bought a big white 39ft boat for his villa in Malindi. He looks like an honest man. I can’t describe that look. 

I’m with my son, by the way. He’s drawing something on a piece of paper. As I wait for my debit card replacement, the man walks wanders over to us and says hello to my son. Children are the greatest ice-breakers. My son looks at me as if seeking approval to engage. His eyes seem to ask, “What’s the family code on talking to men in corduroy trousers?” I smile at him and so he says hi back. The man asks him, “Do you own the bank?” He looks at me briefly, that look adults exchange when one of them is bullshiting a child. “You know you can also own this bank?” The guard standing nearby chuckles. My son goes back to his drawing because he doesn’t have time for such talk. Why the hell would he want a bank for? Maybe a bouncing castle. 

I get a new Visa Card. It shines. The staff, comes with a piece of paper and says, “Do you know of our promotions?” Then hands me this piece of paper with stores that offer discounts if you swipe your card over this holiday season. I scan the list out of politeness and then an idea occurs to me, which is the point of this article.

One of the outlets on the list is this place called The Refinery Grooming in Village Market. It’s a men’s only grooming lounge. It’s got that masculine vibe about it with the all-warm tones of brown with wooden parquet floors, a classic gentleman’s haunt. The barbers use those old-school clippers. They use classic Babassu and Bergamot range of products. I don’t know what that range of product is, but they smell great. It feels like you are in an old movie where you are the don and you are driven back left. Their pedicure/ manicure rooms are private cubicles and you recline in these deep leather chairs a TV remote in your hands. You can watch a movie/ Netflix with headphones on. Drinks are on the house; whiskies and wine. I have been there twice when they just opened their doors. It was fantastic. It’s not a place I’d be able to frequent, though, because a simple 40-minutes haircut is 3,000 bob. A 20 minute beard trim is 1,500 bob. They have this thing called a Gentleman’s Wet Shave that they use a hot towel to shave going for 2,500 a pop. If you want there is a VIP room for complete privacy going for Sh1,000 an hour. (You really don’t need this, unless your whole back has hair and you are shy). 

For that amount service is through the roof. The staff is amazing. If you care to know, there is this hot jango chick with amazing skin at the reception, I don’t know if she’s still there. If you go tell her Biko said hello. If she remembers me. 

I’m not the target market. For sure. But it’s a hell of a place. 

But it’s the end of the year and if you are looking for a year-end gift ideas for a man, this is the place. Of course, he will twist his nose at the very idea of going for “grooming,” because we are men. We want to grow nails so that we can use them for hunting and gathering. We imagine that doing a pedicure will reduce our machismo. Nobody will admit it but that shit feels good; you sit there, headphones on, watching The Irishman on Netflix as this lady removes soil, grass and other forms of debris your toes have gathered since childhood, while you sip your whisky. 

If you have an amazing boss. Send him there as a year-end gift. If your brother has had a horrible year, send him there for one of their relaxing treatments. If you have a client who has kept you afloat whole year, don’t send another cheesy package of whisky glasses with his name on it. Send them there for a manly experience. If your man has been amazing this year but he has a skin that looks like an elephant’s hide and no oil known to man can moisturize it, send him there for a scrub. 

Because they have this 15% discount if you pay using Visa. But if all else fails, you can also get other discounts on gift ideas here on this link: https://www.sc.com/ke/promotions/my-stanchart-privileges/#17741-ke

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It would be very cool if you don’t bank with Stanchart but you read this article to the end. 

 

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86 Comments
  1. It would be very cool if you don’t bank with Stanchart but you read this article to the end.after a siclaimer not to read if we dont bank with stan chat …i read it to the ennd though .

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  2. We want to grow nails so that we can use them for hunting and gathering. We imagine that doing a pedicure will reduce our machismo.

    I’ve laughed so much throughout this post. I don’t bank with stan chart but I read anyway because I don’t listen to instructions
    I like these surprise posts that you’re doing lately

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  3. Jackson Biko, jatelo you were granted with the gift of wordplay. I swear you would sell snow to the Inuit in a heartbeat.
    Priority Customer you. Enjoy your Visa Infinite card. As you are fond of traipsing round the world, loungekey.com/ssavisainfinite would come in very handy.
    Sign up today and you can thank me later.

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  4. Yea. I don’t back with stanChart coz I also don’t do budgets conventionally.
    But you got me there Biko coz you know I’m hooked to your articles and will read anything you write, eh?
    I’m not going to any lounge neither
    Ata ukinilipia
    Want to try me?

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  5. I bank with stanchart but this is out of my league still. With the current economy, I would really think about the opportunity cost.

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  6. Well, I had to read you cannot tell me to stay outside and take tea!!!I am snoopy I gotta know whats happening….yaani you just marketed to me in a story…BIKO!!!!

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  7. Listen! I have never been those first-to-comment-now-let-me-read types. But this here is necessary. I am not a stanchart customer but I am here because I am here!

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  8. “We imagine that doing a pedicure will reduce our machismo. Nobody will admit it but that shit feels good; you sit there, headphones on, watching The Irishman on Netflix as this lady removes soil, grass and other forms of debris your toes have gathered since childhood, while you sip your whisky. ” this is a deep one

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  9. “It looked like it would infect someone with something that you have to take three capsules twice a day after food to cure.”
    This just finished me. Great piece as always..

  10. there is a time i a had a good fortune and suddenly found myself staying in Halighum straight from uthiriu I never adjusted to ksh 500 hair cut from ksh 50 haircut in Nduboini. Well the services was good even the haircut was so smooth and nice finish with nice massage from beautiful ladies but still i felt the ksh. 1000 was daylight robbery

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  11. by the way Equity bank has spoiled people with free maintenance account even if it goes to zero balance u don’t lose u account;once u fortune is back even after several years u just activate u account with ks. 100 and life goes on!. Once wanted to ”upgrade” to a more respectable bank but could not stomach monthly account maintenance charges i tot it was a rip off

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  12. I am out here with the tea and snacks and I have read to the end, how cool is that? Huh?…… Hoping to be the target audience for the card someday……

  13. I do bank with Stanchart , that Refinery is a great gifting idea , though those prices , I hope that pedicure walks and talks . I will pass your regards to the Luo chick

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  14. Grr.. the plugs are so annoying!!! How much do you get paid to (c)overtly advertise? Please give a disclaimer at the beginning of the piece.

    1. Why are people so entitled. There was a disclaimer at the beginning. And also Biko informed us sometime back that he would be opening a ‘lights on’ section for the sole purpose of advertising to keep the blog going since none of us pays for the literary work we enjoy

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      1. Hahahhaa…. your right @EM. I think sometimes people assume this is their Blog, because they have free access to this blog, they feel entitled to direct how the content should be presented .It is BIKO’S blog. He can write what he wants, when he wants, with or without a disclaimer. Biko I know you don’t need me to tell you this but you are an exceptional writer. It is such a privilege for me to read what you share with us every week whatever that may be.

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  15. I have laughed so hard through this article especially the last bit…”we want to grow nails so that we can use them for hunting and gathering” Haha!

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  16. I just did mmmh You have a way with words ” I will admit – that this man in a corduroy trousers wasn’t going to rob the bank. Because corduroys are so heavy, you can’t run in them. It’s like running in wet jeans. You will be caught. ”

    On another note do i have to keep submitting my email every time i want to comment?

    Great read once again.

  17. When you walk in corduroy trousers they make the same sound a car wiper makes when its raining. ….I can’t stop laughing so true.Most corduroys are brown

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  18. My first job was with a bank fresh out of university. It was a great experience and these wealthy customers wacha tu nicest people ever they make you dream about eating life with a big spoon. I once got a tip of 10k on Xmas eve. One morning reported to work and robbers were waiting with guns to rob the vault. Not such a nice experience I’m paranoid to date. I quit after 2 years to pursue other things.

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  19. But Stan Chart is the real deal. Love this bank. Biko ati he goes to Mavuno. Lol
    “We want to grow nails so that we can use them for hunting and gathering. “

  20. funniest sentence for me…

    ##
    watching The Irishman on Netflix as this lady removes soil, grass and other forms of debris your toes have gathered since childhood, while you sip your whisky.

    Biko, you are gifted with words!

  21. Lol….cool it is! I am no Stanchart client but read this article till the end…..We see what you did there Biko….aroused curiosity…same way you would definitely open a package if they told you not to….
    And that line of a ‘hot jango chic’ will sell the place…our brothers are a curious lot!
    Very wise of you

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  22. I don’t bank with Stanchart ha!, but i will click on the link to see if there’s something there for a ‘hustler’ wife to gift her husband. lol

  23. The Lord will not let you starve or buy a cocktail for 1,200 because the Lord gives bread and he knows all happy-hour joints. But you have to have faith first. That’s key.

    This hit hard.

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  24. As soon as you sent us for tea and cookies, I knew that when I mustn’t take the bait. I’m glad i stayed. That corduroy guy though, your description is hilarious. Your mind is an arsenal of imagination

  25. Thank you for this post. Now I know what will be gifting my clients. For the haircut I will pass. Ksh. 2,500 is my expense for cutting my hair and beard almost 6 months or.more