Going to a market at any time in Lagos is helluva stressful, and it requires more planning than your purchase list. Dealing with sassy market women is one thing, having to navigate the tricky pricing and fight for breathing space is another.
Here are some things you’ll relate to if you’ve ever been to a Lagos market:
1) Having to hold onto your bag with a death grip or wearing your backpack on the front.
That’s the only way you can ensure someone with a knife doesn’t cut it off your arm and run off with it.
2) Not picking up any calls or responding to any text because you don’t want anyone to steal your phone while you’re distracted.
In fact, don’t take your phone to the market because pickpockets will find a way to grab it, even if they have to put their hands in your bag or cut you with a razor to get it. Ruthless, those folks.
3) Walking under the sun for countless hours looking for that one item that is scarce now even though you saw it everywhere two days ago.
Suddenly everything is a mirage, and you’re not sure what you saw before.
4) Avoiding sellers with harsh facial expression and bad mouth.
There’s always that one man or woman that will abuse your ancestors because you tried to bargain.
5) Getting pulled left, right and center by people wanting to sell their wares to you by fire by force.
You must see their goods by force o!
6) Staying sharp and trying to avoid buying bad products.
Because you know there’d be a switch if you glance away for a minute. You’re sure to learn this the hard way.
7) Dealing with the reality of zero guarantees and no cashback.
You have to shine your eyes well if you don’t want to be scammed.
8) Having to wear your worst outfit to the market because you know it can’t get ruined any further than it already has.
That’s the only way you can endure the mud on the road, dust, and dirty hands.
9) Get ready to be shoved by the neighbours of people you buy from.
It’s guaranteed that a jealous market woman will shoo you away, abusing you and the seller you’re buying from. Usually, because his goods are in her space and you’re encroaching on her territory by trying to look closer at them.
10) Sellers always have an excuse for a price hike.
They have a Ph.D. in this field. They usually blame Buhari’s government or school fees period.
There’s also the famous one about ‘odun’, which is used during festive seasons; Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day, Sallah, Muhammad’s birthday, Independence Day, Workers Day. You name it, they’ve got it.
11) Leaving your glamour at home.
Face full of makeup and lots of accessories and jewelry? Lagos markets are not friendly to that. If walking around doesn’t make the makeup feel heavy after a while, then having your jewelry stolen will make you weep with regret.
12) Don’t even bother to take your car to the market because the car park is so far off.
You’ll wish you didn’t by the time you trek for 3 hours, and you’re nowhere near the market.