Monday, October 3, 2011

Market Kindness

The last two weeks that I went to the market I needed to keep my shopping trip simple. Princess needed to eat while I was at the market both times. It is interesting because people here are a little more willing to share their opinions with you when they have never met you. So when my baby is crying as I go through the stalls ladies are calling out to me, “You need to feed your baby”.
The trip two weeks ago, I was pausing before a material stall to look at the material. The lady that owned the shop asked me, “What do you want?”. I had an honest moment. I don’t want you to think that I am not normally honest, but I have always thought that people who ask  you questions and don’t know you might not REALLY want the answer. In my frankness I answered “I want to feed my baby”. The lady invited me into her stall, gave me the only seat with a back which was directly under a nice powerful fan so that I could feed her. I felt cared for and I was really grateful to her for allowing me that time and rest, the market is really tiring.
This last week when I came home with low grade heat stroke (only a headache, but one that had to have meds). I was shopping and I was at my last place as far as I was concerned for shopping purposes. I bought a set of plastic baskets that stand on top of each other for my vegitables and fruits. I don’t remember why, but a lady came over to where I was from another stall. It may have been because my baby was crying. She told me that I needed to feed my baby, to which I agreed and she took me to her stall and sat me down under her fan so that I could feed my baby. As I sat there, I noticed that she had a child napping on some blankets to the side of her. The child was a baby only 1 month older than mine. Given how tired and hot I was (more than any other trip to the market) I was so grateful to her as well. There did happen to be something in her shop that I wanted, so I bought it. Infact, I may end up going back to the other store to buy the material when I am ready to make a dress. The first material store (the one that I fed princess in) offered 7,000 Naira for 5 yard of material when another place I walked into the same day said that 1 yard was 3,000 Niara for the same type of material.
It is not just because they helped me that they are likely to get my business. Although I think that big businesses underestimate the personal touch and customer service benefits and loyalty. It feels so nice to be treated with compassion among people you do not know, and I feel that they are less likely to try to charge me an arm and a leg because they see me as more human too.
--Joy