That is the question…

Markets here in nigeria are busy, open and very different from supermarkets. Things are generally cheaper because one is able to “price” aka bargain the choice item as low as possible so the buyer and seller are both satisfied (though this isnt always the case). Pricing is a very important skill if you plan on shopping at the market because since prices aren’t fixed, certain vendors could cheat you of your money and you wont even realise it (or you’ll realize it after and it’ll be too late). You can’t learn how to price an item overnight; practise makes perfect.

Somethings I’ve noticed in the market:

  •          Once the sellers view you as a potential customer, literally everyone is calling you to do business with them. You’ll hear things like “Aunty fresh fish dey for here o!”, “Fine girl, you won buy tomato? Fresh tomato dey!”, “Customer, come and do business with me!” If you’re a JJC (Johnny Just Come aka beginner), it could be overwhelming because everyone’s calling out to you and you’re confused. The normal thing to do is ignore them and go your way. You’ll get used to it with practice but it still bugs me sometimes.
  •          Once you purchase from a particular vendor, you’re automatically a “customer”. This means you’ve kind of pledge an allegiance to the vendor that you’ll purchase from them in future despite other competitors. Some people are affected by this “customer syndrome” more than others. My dad thinks the whole customer thing is crap and he always goes for “the best one” even if it’s right next to the vendor he always buys from. The customer syndrome could be good in the sense that you get really good discounts but it’s bad when you become so loyal to a vendor they take advantage of you (especially if you don’t price the items with other vendors before making a final decision).    
  •          You can’t NOT price an item EXCEPT, there is a universally fixed price or you’re a JJC or you’re just plain dumb.  Pricing helps you realize whose cheating you and who isn’t. 
  •          Even after the price has been agreed, customers always want “fusi” or “jara”. These two words both mean extra of whatever it is you purchase. If it’s tomatoes, we want extra tomatoes added to the tomatoes we already bought. This jara could be voluntary or prompted by the buyer and is a determining factor of whether you become a “customer” or not.
  •          You can’t just flaunt how stylish your bag or wallet is. Most markets get really crowded and you could unknowingly attract watchful eyes. You hold that bag/wallet like it’s your life!
  •          Shakara is acceptable especially from the customers. If you and a vendor can’t agree on a price, it’s ok to walk away to price other places AND/OR come back to them if you realize they gave you the best deal.

I’ve accompanied my parents to the market since I was a young caterpillar but I went alone for the first time and it was uncomfortable. Why? The market I went to, my parents are usual customers there so they all knew I was “their daughter” and the customer allegiance pressure was more. I did a pretty good job but it was so uncomfy. Next time, I’ll go where no one knows who I am.

Maintenant, quelques photos!·        
Writing the “receipt”
:O Are those chickens?!
Tomatoes so fresh!
To buy or not to buy?
Paying for our stuff