I got permission from work one sunny morning to transact some business at Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, only to encounter locked stalls and a gathering of tradesmen and women singing.
It was about 10 o’clock. I asked one bystander why the shops were locked, and he replied that it was a rule for all traders to open for business by noon at which time their monthly Christian prayers would have been concluded. Defaulters were heavily fined.
See as my morning take scatter that day! Okay, codedly sell something for me nah. The traders ignored me. They were praying, they said. Perhaps the error was mine. I had no idea whatever that such a day was set aside for all traders and their customers to pray to God or face the consequences.
In any case, I jejely stopped relying on that bazaar market. Even to price things for there na hassle. 6pm dem don close. Sundays no market, because all of us must keep the Sabbath day holy.
It was a huge relief however, when the Shoprite and Game stores opened in the city. Busy people who couldn’t afford time to perturb the Main Market people and their iyanga, could purchase groceries any day of the week, even till 8 and 9 pm everyday.
In other words, local businesses just don’t understand what it means to satisfy customers or offer much-needed customer service. How then can their businesses grow? I have money to buy stuff but you won’t sell because you’re praying. You didn’t pray before living your house abi? But we must #BuyNigerianToGrowTheNaira abi? Patronise smaller businesses, not so?
Anyway, here in Abuja nobody will beg the readers in Wuse Market to sell. Discount shopping malls are all over the place and rent is high. No messing around with landlords. If some feel that they can close shop on Sundays, fine. Bad market for them.
Our Muslim friends don’t mind making money on Sundays.
Across the border, Benin Republic markets na story for another day.
Africa has a long way to go.
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