Price tag vs relationship

I know everyone has their gripe with their community but I am convinced Africans lead the pack when it comes to price negotiations. Basically, there are two types of Africans, price hagglers and freebie seekers. Regular hagglers are always looking for a deal . But an African haggler finds a deal and proceeds to  wrestle the price to the ground.

When these notorious African hagglers are not consumed by an ‘I-am-being-cheated' paranoia, they are filled with a sense of entitlement which motivates them to arbitrarily negotiate the set price of goods and services. Some of the excuses African hagglers use during the negotiation process are: “I am your African sister/brother”, “times are hard” and “God will bless you.” I am familiar with these excuses because I am a black belt African haggler. I haggle with taxi drivers, department stores, food sellers, financial institutions… I have not met a price I have not attacked. Name your price and I will drive it down with my high pitched voice. If that does not work, I will grovel and whimper until in exasperation, you give up.  But, even I, can admit that it is infuriating to do business with people who ridicule hard work by offering ridiculously low prices because their tactics erode profit margins and cripple business. In the words of a Ghanaian videographer, "As for me I don’t do business with Africans. Why would I do business with my people when I can do the same job for somebody else and get paid the full price, plus tip?"

If African hagglers are bad for business, then freebie seekers, irrespective of their nationality, destroy relationships. Freebie seekers are people who want things for free. Why? Because your mothers are cousins. Or, you used to be classmates, roomates, wombmates… Whatever the connection, freebies believe that their relationship with you is enough leverage for a lifetime supply of gratuities. Now my friends reading this post will have a nice chuckle because they know I have a really hard time charging friends or family for any service that I offer. For example, I braid hair like a Senegalese in Harlem. In University, I used to charge for this service. Since graduating however, I don't typically charge a fee. So if I decide to do your hair, I like to dictate the time and place, oh, and you have to bring your own extensions!

This example should serve as a PSA to all the freebie seekers: Beggars can't be choosers.  If you are not ready to pay up, you can at least be considerate and cover the overhead costs. You have to ask nicely, you have to put up with the terms set by the giver and you have to say THANK YOU.

To the penny-pinching professionals who are looking for every opportunity to pay off their student loans, remember, money is not everything. Now can we all just get along? Well, that will depend on how you complete this sentence: " As for me, I don't do business with —- (insert family member's name, if you are really brave)

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  1. This piece is hilarious and timely. It never ceases to amaze me how badly we support our own businesses, charities, churches and the general entrepreneural spirit in the African. We look up to  and there are numerous Ndoum, Nutifafa Kuenyehia etc However ask them how difficult it is to operate a viable business in Ghana with all the hangers on, cheap skates, liars, hypocrites and back stabbers that dont want you to succeed. Worst of all they are your own family and friends!!


  2. Kobi, the stories are astonishing. The good part is there are people who persevere and through their efforts others get a shot at success. Thank you for reading. come back for more

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