Monday, December 20, 2010

Shopping: The Isale - Eko Style

Mum had the brightest idea this weekend... she wanted us to go shopping like the proper *Isale-Eko that we are. She says she doesn’t understand why I have totally turned my back on the normal open market as if they didn’t exist before boutiques and the internet.  When we were younger, she used to take us through the popular Balogun market and school us on how to shop for everything we needed... Ok maybe not everything.

I knew how to navigate from Balogun to Breadfruit and then Apongbon through Oke Arin for fabric, shoes, kitchen utensils, household wares etc, I still do. Haggling was also not a problem, over the years I had mastered the tricks.

First, you enter a shop (say the African Fabrics store) and then look around until you  get the design you like. Ask for the price... your best bet is to try and decipher the seller's tribe before you say a word. If they're Ibo and you don't speak Igbo, please stick with pidgin.... and if they're yoruba, then fire on in yoruba... but never speak Queen's English, you'll be shooting yourself in the foot if you do.

So you ask for the price... when they tell you, cut it down by half or more  (he might say N6,000, you tell him N3000 or even N2000). The ibo guy will probably say 'Ah... N2000 na money but e no good for that  price'.

Don’t be fooled... try looking through other designs, at this point he'll start reeling out the prices... he might even tell you that the one you picked initially is of a higher standard/better quality. In between this, he'll try convincing you on why you should or should not buy your initial choice. Insist on the price you mentioned earlier and watch his expression.

Still not bulging? Walk away slowly... if the shop next to his stocks the same kind, try making your way in there, he'll call you back and reduce the initial price he told you (probably to N4000) and even tell you that's the last price.

If this happens, keep walking away slowly, or stop by another stall to check out other items (remember, checking out wares is free, no crime in window shopping).

At this point, he’ll say 'Ok sister, wetin you go add join that N2000?... Tell him, 'Add ke? Abi make I comot N500 sef, this thing no cost reach dat price na!.

Expect to hear something like, 'Oya add N500 make I just sell am for you, but make you no tell another persin say na dat price oh, this one wey I give you na wholesale price'. At this point, he'll start packing the item into a polythene bag.

Reach for your purse and ceremoniously bring out the N2000, collect the item before handing him the money. He'll look and it and say 'e remain N500'.

Tell him that's all you have and try walking away slowly, he might then say 'okay add N200, that one na my gain'... Don't.

However, if he insists strongly at that point where you try giving him the N2000 and he hands you back the money, it means he really won't sell for N2000. Try walking away... he might then call you back and ask for N200 extra... tell him you'll add N50, he might say N100 or insist on N200. At this point the decision is yours, whether to buy or move ahead.

It is important to note that there's no rule that says you must buy from the first shop you walk into. You can move away to other shops to find out the average price and then return to the one with the cheapest. You must always ensure you know the cheapest selling price of each shop before leaving. That way, you’ll do a good comparison and end up with the best bargain.

If reading this alone makes you tired, then you probably won't be able to practicalise... the good news is Da Viva shop is still open at The Palms... and kitchen wares are on sale at Adam 'n' Even.

The Yoruba sellers are quite different. In fact, with most of the women, you might even be cursed, but hey, as long as you get the best bargain, nothing else matters right? After all the attendants at our favourite stores/boutiques are not the most courteous people we know.

*Isale-Eko = Downtown Lagos also  known as Lagos Island.


Fluffycutething said...

lmao i dreaded being dragged through the market especially because my silly sister wont make her choice(s) on time!!!! Till date i still dont like market prefer shops abeg....

P.E.T. Projects said...

Ah that just like Mumsy, she loves what she sees in one shop but she wants to comb the entire market hoping to see something better hence we walk for hours and return home dead tired

* How are the babies?

Tamunoibifiri Mobolaji-Kamson said...

Lmao I love this article. For me I love shopping any day any time. My business entails shopping. I Help people get wedding souvenirs or flavors for parties and so I shop. Love it, but there are some days I am so tired and like what is this...
but really nice.

af said...

Shopping in a Naija market sounds like a fulltime job, but very interesting and complex at the same time.
In my country people don't really haggle because we buy our stuff from big box stores with pre-set prices.

On groceries we can't really haggle because the profit margain on them is already pretty low due to shipping, trucking, handling costs.

One can haggle on shoes, electronics, clothes, etc because there is usually a considerable mark-up on these products...

It's also not really part of our culture either. You're seen as uncouth, miserly and angry if you try and haggle for a lower price.

But I will definately be haggling whenever I am abroad...

How can you tell what tribe/group someone is from?
What tribe are you?

Anonymous said...

should have a pocket book on haggling and include more likely scenarios like the omo una saying "u wan steal am?" when you have offered a price too low and sticking by your guns. lol.

Merry Christamas and a Fulfilling 2010.

Anonymous said...

So this is how its done, i should try it sometimes. My friends brag about how we have the same Da Viva design yet I pay almost twice as much for mind. What are the other things I can get?

Lara said...

This such a good tip, I do not know how to bargain which is why I avoid going to markets...I need particularly need it in this place right now

Roc said...

talk about having it down to an art..
Takes loads of patience though.

T.Notes said...

Hmmm, i think i have a crush on your blog!!!!

Gbemisoke said...

True Lagos girl!

I went to have my daughter's ears pierced and the Pakistani woman said $20. Sharp sharp, I said "no oh! I'm paying $10" Her reply? wait for it.... "You from Nigeria?"
I was like "what's that?" (while thinking to myself, hmm awon temi ti show awon Paki yi)
It's our way joor :-)

PS I ended up paying $7 :-D

Qmoney said...

hey u,i don semi update naaa
hiya doing?thanks for having my can ur post make anyone tired?u actually make it look "easy",its more "difficult" and stressful......
ibo man-ehen,take am for free
yoruba woman-o ba ma sanwo raraa,ota
annoying people
happy holidays

doll said...

thank God for all the retail shops i no dey for open market wahala.

Hope your xmas was fun?

Happy new year in advance

doll said...

thank God for all the retail shops i no dey for open market wahala.

Hope your xmas was fun?

Happy new year in advance

m1ke said...

This springs up some memories. I remember UTC stores or the lot of families walking around the Lagos Island's naked sun,sweaty armpits and foreheads, speakers blaring seasonal tunes e.t.c. This is to show that this post is strong in evoking that almost ' forgotten' years of childhood.

Anonymous said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!....yay! nothing like shopping in the proper ISALE-EKO way oooo...just love the ke? be me & you sha....ahahhaahaaa

Naijamum said...

I love Isale Eko....and markets in general
I even prefer open marlets here in London. For example, fresh fruit from Lewisham market, meat from Peckham and arty bits from Camden or Petticoat lane.
The bargaining is the best bit...*smile*

P.E.T. Projects said...

Ibifiri: Shopping is therapeutic jare... shop on girl!

Af: LOL @ fulltime job, but honestly, there are people who shop for others for a fee, any and everything is biz in this part of the world.

There are certain things which have set prices but most many others you can get good bargains with your haggling skills.

To tell a trader's tribe, watch out for his/her accent.

Lara: I dunno about haggling in India oh... but if u notice haggling is allowed, abeg tune into ur Lagos frequency and get the best bargain.

But be careful... u're in another man's land and language deficient at the moment.

P.E.T. Projects said...

thisisthediaryofanotmadblackwoman: Lol... those traders are something else... wot I dont understand is how they abuse you so much and still end up selling at the price u're asking.

BTW, this ur name is a mouth full oh... ahn ahn

P.E.T. Projects said...

Anonymous: please try it... u might want to go with 'experienced' friends on a few occasions just to learn quality tricks. #ThankMeLater

P.E.T. Projects said...

Roc:...and patience is a virtue.

T.Notes: Really? Awww... looking forward to more visits then *wink*

Gbemisoke: Now thats wot Im talking about... Lol... but u tried sha $13 off?! Chei #SharpWoman

Doll: Yes oh, Xmas was good.

M1ke: LOL @ sweaty armpits. Thanks for driving through

Qmoney: welcome back. Sometimes I just want to slap those yoruba women... acting like they are doing me a favour.

Naijamum: #TeamOpenMarket

NG: Happy New Year to you... I do boutiques too but the open market is just fun.

Anonymous said...

people do your shopping for a fee?! that is a new one to me ooo.