I came across a post on twitter this morning, which got me thinking about the way different classes of Nigerians live and behave with regards to one another. This post outlines the implications of a middle class Nigerian’s lifestyle on the lower class, with regards to shopping.
Something to think about.. pic.twitter.com/UrDHilAblL
— Chinwe (@ChinnyOfLife) October 7, 2015
Think about it, middle class Nigerians who go shopping abroad will, as the post says, “pay what we see on the price tags and even hand out tips to the staff.” Since this point is true, why is it so hard for these same Nigerians to agree to the prices that hawkers and traders ask? Do we only value goods from stores because we can guarantee their worth as true, as opposed to that of Nigerian traders or market women? Take a tomato seller for example, if she says a bag of 12 tomatoes is N500, the average middle class Nigerian will immediately feel offended and offer to pay N200, if not N150.
There’s this disbelief in our own traders, but a sense of trust placed on stores such as Walmart, Tesco and the like.
Why don’t we trust our own? Is this because these market women do not have stores of their own? Would things have been different had it been Balogun market was a nicely decorated mall and market women had to pay for stalls?
There’s an underlying point that we would confidently spend $4,500 on Christian Louboutin shoes but will refuse to pay an N100 for three oranges from a roadside seller, arguing that for N100 we should get five oranges instead. Have you ever questioned your bargaining techniques and reasons? Have you ever thought, maybe today I wouldn’t just argue and will just pay what the trader asks? Have you ever considered the difference in your lifestyle from that of hawkers? Some might argue, “MONEY IS HARD!” Nevertheless, wasn’t money also hard when you were buying that overly priced chocolate bar at Shoprite or spending N500 to pay for parking when you went to that fancy restaurant in VI?
These are things to consider. Let us know what you think and how you may or may not be contributing to this kind of “Nigerian Middle Class” lifestyle.
By Kathryn Ani-Otoibhi
Main Image Credit: Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya