Outburst Uncontrolled.....


I waited a few days to write this just so that this post won't be heavily laced with the annoyance I have felt within this week.
Ok, so I've been in Nigeria for a few days and have been having a blast eating all of the delicacies I've been unable to eat for a while now.
The one thing that always seems to shock me is how rude people are generally, especially people who are supposed to be "service people".

I had come home briefly late last year and my joy at being home was momentarily cut short just at the airport when- whilst struggling to balance my son on my hip and tote the baby bag that kept slipping off of my shoulder and onto the floor- an Immigration lady called to me rudely,
" Madame, don't say I did not call you o, if you like stay there!", With that, she eyed me and walked away.
I was dazed.
And then, I realised that, I was in Nigeria!
I bit my tongue to keep from saying anything to her. I jejely respected myself the entire visit to avoid any occasion that would push my buttons. Hey! I'm trying to work on myself as even I know I've got my own issues but I'm striving hard and I do believe say I dey try small small.
I am an extremely defensive person- as in, once I feel attacked, I come back at you with a blinding force and I've been aware of this for a while and so I'm learning to relax and not take it too personally and to particularly let things slide as much as I can.

So, because of some factors, my family is entitled to eat in the company cafeteria for now until we get a proper family home and so, in just the short time I've stayed here, I've found the meal menu to be nutritious but predictable and hardly changing and so I sought variety for myself.
Don't even get me started with how rude the servers behind the food counters are- it's almost as if they wish you hadn't come to eat so they can take what is left of it home.
I went into town about the third day of my visit and bought some pots, pans, utensils and a little stash of food supplies and made my own soup and stew.
I couldn't make a lot because DH wouldn't have the time to heat up food to eat and all- it is a lot easier for him to eat at the cafe when I'm back in the UK and so the meals I prepared where really small meals for myself and my son- I could buy N800- 1000 meat, 5 cups of rice, 5 cups of garri, some snails, etc- it was all in small quantities.
Also, I would go to the market in town, not the modified market in the Residential Area as I knew things were overpriced there. Yes, I am thrifty like that. No, it doesn't mean I am stingy.

Anyway, on one particular day within the week, I'd just come out of the hospital within the premises as DS had been unwell again.
I decided to stroll, with DS in his stroller, by the mall ( there was no means of transportation to the market in town and I hadn't wanted to disturb the family friend who normally went with me on these errands- I haven't learned to use the designated buses that run the different routes for now... ) and see if I could get ingredients for yam and egg sauce as I was having a huge craving for it.
There hadn't been any at the mall but I was directed to the "modified market" which was really a large caravan that had been divided into several small but air-conditioned make-shift stalls/stores- there was a cold room, a tailoring outfit, a photo studio, a children toy/party shop and the food store.
I went into the food store and met the attendant lying asleep behind the counter.
It was a hot afternoon and the store was very well air-conditioned.
I asked the price of the yams and she told me there were two kinds- the ones of N500 and of N1000.
I selected one of the N500 ones- which was actually larger than what I had hoped to get as I knew I would basically end up eating it alone as DH doesn't like yam.
I asked the price of a small bottle of groundnuts and was told it was N1,500- it was about N500 in Port-Harcourt or in town even- I could appreciate that the Portharcourt price couldn't be the same as the price there due to transportation but still....
I asked about the small bottle of cashew nuts and was told it was N2,500.
I needed just a few tomatoes, a couple of onions and some eggs ( I had habanero peppers in the refrigerator at home) to complete the ingredients  and so I asked for N200 worth of fresh tomatoes which the attendant reluctantly got up to put in a nylon bag for me.
At this point, a lady came into the stall to buy something and the attendant turns to me saying, "Madam, abeg space no dey here, weda you go carry that thing keep for outside make space dey...."
"That thing" was my baby's stroller with him inside.
I didn't even have to respond, the lady that came in pounced on her,
"Did you just ask her to leave her child outside? No! No! No! You can't say THAT to someone! "That thing" as you called it is HER CHILD!!!", the lady chided.
"No o, I no mean her pikin, even if na the thing wey dem take carry am....", she further argued.
"Please! I'd rather stand outside and let you finish attending to her then I can come in!", the woman remarked before giving me an apologetic glance and stepping out.
Whilst this was going on, I was struggling to keep a leash on the anger that was threatening to erupt and so I didn't say anything.
" What else do you want?", she asked me.
I asked to be given N100 onions and when she brought two shrivelled looking bulbs, I quickly asked that she should please make it N200 and that was when she said,
"Abeg, abeg o, which wan be dis.....", I didn't even let her finish.
My silence when she'd talked about my child rudely and the fact that I was probably not buying up to her expectations must have made her see me some type of way but I was MAD!!!!
"ARE YOU MMMAAAADDDDD?!!!!!" I asked in a very clear voice.
"Are you absolutely out of your mind? How dare you speak to ANYONE like that? What did I do to you to deserve the disrespect you've just shown me?"
I think she was dazed into quietness at this point and the woman outside came in to intercede, trying to rush her to get my things prepped.
When the woman was asking the total, she said, "Na N1000 thing o, hmmmm...", that was when I told her, " Even if I came here to buy a cup of rice, you MUST sell it to me and you MUST sell it to me with respect, you frustrated old hag!!".
I had been so mad. The lady trying to settle it was shocked at my outburst because the lady was clearly older than me but I was beyond caring.
I had heard so much about how residents tended to live above their means or live to please others or keep up/compete with one another and just all that cock and bull story and, although this was not even minutely anything pertaining to that, it was just that stupid, segregative mindset that got me really irked. Add to that the annoyance about how she'd referred to my son that I was still struggling to contain- I just let it all loose.
I let her know that every penny anyone spent there, no matter how little, was a penny worked for and no one had any right to belittle that penny because it is not that other's thousand.
Then I left fuming.

Immediately I left the place, I felt terrible for my outburst.
I felt there were several better ways I could have communicated to her without insulting her- my conscience didn't just let me rest- two wrongs don't make a right.
It had felt good to make her feel as bad and as a nobody as she had tried to make me feel but what's that said about fighting in the mud with a pig?
My thinking at the time was that, not saying anything will make her think it was acceptable to talk to people like that and it is just wrong!
The shop isn't even yours and you want to bury the business owner's investment with your bad attitude- what gives?

I went there today- to the cold room first to buy some laps of chicken for a small pot of chicken peppersoup.
Then I went by her shop and there she was, lying half asleep in her cool stall. I greeted her politely and asked for peppersoup condiments. She answered a little coldly and said she had none.
I persisted gently, stating that she couldn't say she had none, I went in and looked closely and saw some "ehuru" and "uziza" seeds, wrapped in tiny balls. I held them up and asked if those were not peppersoup spices.
Maybe because she felt she'd been caught out being reluctant to sell or perhaps because she didn't think I would want the very local spices but she was immediately apologetic,
"Ok! I no know say na the local type you mean, I think say na the satchet one wey dem done already prepare."
Then she got busy sourcing out the ones I might like whilst I asked her expert advise on which ones were best and how to grind them since I didn't have any mortar or pestle.
There weren't apologies but we reached a silent truce. I bought some apples and she was very happy to pack up my purchase which amounted to N1,300. Still cheap but we were both satisfied with the treatment we were both receiving from each other.
Problem solved.
It's a shame I'll be leaving in a few days, we might have made good, good friends.



6 comments

  1. Lols my dear welcome home. Benin market women are the very worst, they will insult you and even call you a thief to top it all. If you're really unlucky, her colleagues would join her in insulting you, its that bad. I can't say I woulndt have reacted same way you did cos I'm also very impatient and I usually don't smile when I go to the market, the vendors always think twice before being rude to me. Pele, wish you a safe trip back.

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    1. Nna this thief business on top pesin money, I no jus understand.
      It is well sha.

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  2. Hahahahhaaa-don't mind these people and their bad attitudes. Frustration dey worry them.#pele

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  3. my dear, this was such a good read, so, have u tried bargaining in Yaba market. Picture this scenario...........How much for the onions? the woman says, "four for 200naira". I ask again " Can i get 10 for 400? " What I will hear is..........."aaaaaaaaaaaah, "Ole, commot for here jaree, see ur head, u no get money, u come dey price nonsense"...........Now that's Naija for you.

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  4. Ole kwa?
    Nna na wa o! Lol.
    I wasn't pricing her now, I just wanted a small quantity of her madam's goods....

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