You see, our wonderful trucker's union decided to go on strike. Likewise, I believe, various unions related to beverage companies. Essentially, that meant nothing was getting anywhere, because in this country its strictly prohibited to either break or get around (scab) a strike.
That meant no Coca-cola. And for a gang of hardcore Coke nuts like my gaming group, that could be disasterous. We are usually not just fanatics but connoisseurs; rather than buying the bigger plastic 1.5 or 2lt bottles, we prefer the 1Lt GLASS bottles (if you've never tried coke out of a glass bottle, you don't know what you're missing, there's a huge difference between that and plastic; or, god forbid, aluminum cans).
But by my Thursday game all that was left in the local supermarket was Fanta. So we were stuck drinking Nazi-cola. We bit the bullet and drank it, because we were taken by surprise and because there was really no alternative.
But now, Saturday, I go to the supermarket and all I see there is Diet Fanta.I shit you not. The drinks section, literally, had only some bottled water, the some 1Lt bottles of the poorest brand of uruguayan beer, and (for soft drinks) DIET FUCKING FANTA.
I mean, shit, I didn't even know that a "Diet Fanta" existed until know! It was a kind of dark knowledge I could have done without, let me tell you!
Not just that, but the fuckers had an ample supply, several dozen bottles spread around to try to fill the otherwise empty shelfspace. But of course they had plenty of that; I mean what kind of sick out of his mind fucker would drink DIET FANTA???
I mean, fucking hell... are you serious?! Who the fuck says "I want an uber-sugarry vaguely-organge flavour drink made completely and entirely out of artificial substances... but let's make it a light."
Sure, technically that kind of mockery could apply to any "diet" soft drink, and I basically find all of the concepts of "diet" soft drinks absurd (if you really want to watch your health, you wouldn't be drinking soda in the first place, diet or not), but it just seems particularly absurd with fucking Fanta!
Fuck that, I told myself. There are limits to every man, and this was mine. I would find Coke even if it kills me.
So I spend the next couple of hours trudging around to every little corner store, kiosk, everywhere I could find, trying to get my hands on some coke. Finally I found several bottles worth, including a couple of my precious 1Lt Glass bottles, in a bakery. Possibly the last place in all of Montevideo where you could still get Coke legally.
Fucking goddamn unions.
And don't think that its just (admittedly) non-essential stuff like Coke that they're allowed to shut down. Oh no.
I mean, for fuck's sake, on Thursday the gas stations literally shut down because they had no more petrol to sell. Apparently, neither the government nor the big oil companies nor anyone else was able or allowed to get someone to ship gas to a city of 1.5 million people.
Incidentally, some of you might not be familiar with Uruguayan geography. Here's a little lesson: Uruguay has a series of river networks that are highly navigable, and a massive coastline that wraps around more than 2/3rds of the country.
It also is mostly flat land (there are barely any hills in Uruguay's pampas, and not a single mountain). You know, the sort of terrain that would be absolutely IDEAL for a railroad?
And yet, the entire country is held hostage to the whims of the fuckers in the Trucker's Union! Why? Because over the course of decades they have made sure that no alternate method of shipping was ever allowed to survive or get off the ground, by the same kind of stronghand tactics that they are using now.
And they aren't the worst of this gang of syndicational fuckwits, not by far. You have no idea what the Public Employee's Union is like. There isn't a politician, left, right or centre, that dares move a pinky against them.
Yes, I'm living in fucking Minrothad (reference for all you Mystara nuts).
This isn't a democracy, its a guildocracy.
I mean, how the fuck does this country have a military dictatorship for 11 years and NOT manage to break the backs of the unions??
(Well, I guess I must recall that this was the same military dictatorship to hold a rigged "referendum" election and LOSE it; so they weren't exactly the brightest junta in the bunch)
How the fuck have these gang of shitheads, who aren't left or right wing (though they often dress up in left-wing drag, when needed; even though in reality all they care about is their own power and fortune), managed to subvert the entire country and its best interests?
As usual, I'm sure they'll be getting whatever they want, moving Uruguay one step closer to economic ruin. But meanwhile, I have managed to raise my head high, and say that I beat their embargo.
Today, my players drink Coke.
(originally posted october 29, 2006)