If You Must Go To The Market


I went for a market run sometime this week after nearly two, maybe three years of avoiding it. As soon as I stepped into it, I rediscovered however why I avoided it all these years.

From being nearly run over by a vehicle to being tussled here and there by impatient pedestrians to being called “sisi” by every Dick and Harry trying to beckon you to their goods to nearly being cheated out of my boots by thieving traders, let’s just say that I won’t be going as frequently as I should.

Here are tips that would make market runs easy for you (not you the veterans, rather you, amateurs like me) that I have learnt through first hand experience:

  • Dressing– Wear breathable dark clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting stained. Carry a crossbody bag if you can. I believe that crossbody bags make it easier to store your valuables (money, mobile phone, etc.) within eye reach. Wear a nose mask if you’re allergic to pollutants, I promise the market carries enough allergens to go around. The goal is to be as compact as possible.
  • Organization– Going to the market can be a bit like going to the toy store as a child; you want to grab everything. “Oh sugar, I need to buy sugar.” It doesn’t matter that you have enough sugar to last you a while at home, sugar is right there and you must have it. To help save time and money, it is essential to have a list of items to be bought and carry just enough money to buy them, maybe a thousand or two in preparation for economic instability. I did all these and still found myself reaching for items I didn’t budget for, maybe you’d be better than I had been.
  • Bargaining– This in my opinion is the most important tip. Learn the delicate act of bargaining. The prices that are first called out are often two, or three times the actual price of the good. Bargaining is an examination you must pass in your quest to conquer the market.
  • Language– It is helpful to speak the local dialect in the market, however mashed up it may sound. It makes it easier to get your items quicker and cheaper.
  • Confidence– You must look like you belong to the market, like you know every nook and cranny or else you get dragged by everyone. Everyone is calling you to get this item or the next, you must be formidable enough to withstand all that pressure until you get to your stop.
  • Skilled companion– “Follow who no road” basically. You end up just carrying bag and following them, without having to do any of the other work. Schedule your runs with a pro’s to make it easier for you.

These are some tips that may be helpful to you. If you have others, please share. Thank you!

  1. Priscilla Oyinola says

    It was a beautiful read, thank you, Zainab.
    I sure can relate with avoiding market runs. It’s one of my “necessary evils”.
    The “follow who know road” works like magic! Your only job is to follow, plus nothing beats a front row view of whoever you followed haggling.
    You can also do your market runs in the late afternoons because of the intensity of the sun or wear a face cap if you must go in the sunshine. Nothing tires you out as fast as the hot ball in the sky and you need all the energy you can get.
    Speaking of energy, never go to the market on an empty stomach! Your trip will be over before it has even begun.
    Thank you for this once again. I’ll be watching out for your pieces.

    1. Zainab Arogundade says

      Thank you very much Priscilla! Thank you for the extra tips too!

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