Skip to main content

Cunning Nairobi Hawkers

Have you ever wondered how easy it is to de-fraud the public? Do you think that you need to be a politician to defraud the public? It is quite easy to defraud the public, and secondly, politicians work very hard and in fact most of their income is handed to them on a silver platter, been the gate keepers of Government contracts. Whether politicans defraud the public shall be left to another day. As for how easy it is to defraud the public, Jeffrey Acher, in one of his novels, illustrates a couple of guys who send in a classified Ad to the dailies reading "Deadline near. Send your money quickly." According to Archer, the guys received money. Whether it was just a piece of imagination or an actual occurence we leave it to the author.

Yesterday, I happened to take a Kenya Bus Services Management bus, yes , one of the buses responsible for intoducing a large hole on half of my pin striped suit with their crude seats. I boarded the bus travelling from Teleposta towers, previous headquarters of Telkom to their new headquarters of the even stranger Telkom-Orange based at Telkom Plaza. As I wasted time waiting for the bus to get full , some hawkers boarded the bus to peddle thier wares. It was a waste of time because the strange frenchman who I had a scheduled interview with at Orange would later decide that his schedule had better meetings than a scheduled one with some small time journalist.

The hawkers, are not your ordinary hawker. This hawkers have choreographed voices to start with. The mostly male hawkers, have a deep crooning baritone voice that makes you believe that you are part of a perfromance which you would perform better by buying from them. It takes talent too, to be a hawker.

This hawkers were selling airtime. You would think anyone who needs airtime already purchased it on the ground. Wrong!.The hawkers announced that they were selling special airtime vouchers that increased the chances of one winning the ongoing "Masonko na Safaricom" promotion. This sepcial cards had a different design from the normal ones and would receive higher consideration when selecting the promotion winners.

My fellow passengers, on a Kibera bound bus purchased the airtimes in droves. Kibera, fellow readers (yeah, am a reader of this blog!) is a slum once touted to be the biggest in Africa and attracted tourists from far and wide including Barrack Obama and Chris Rock. That was until a census held an year ago showed that the actual popualtion was a tenth of the estimated million. Maybe that's why it took an year to get the results released, they had to verify Kibera's population!. And so the Kibera destined passengers purchased the airtime in high dominions of Ksh. 100, maybe hoping that their probability of winning was almost 1 (in mathematics, a probability of 1 is equivalent to 100%).

Well, those keen enough should notice that Safaricom is busy undertaking a promotion to wound up its 10 year party (More on this on the next issue of CIO East Africa magazine). As part of the fanfare, Safaricom has decided to re-brand and re-design its cards and this day happened to be day 1 of the new cards. The hawkers must have sang all the way to their M-PESA accounts.

Meanwhile, I hope the reason the Orange CEO decided that I should waste 2 hours but not see him was because he was engrossed in a meeting with one of this hawkers on how to sell to the market!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar?

Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen.

Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji".

The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave.

But what ails Kenya's sugar industry?

The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here.

Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly declined under mismanagement and corruption. The appointing of political cronies and trib…

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.

For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.

Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

How much Nairobi Residents Pay in Rent

In my last post, I explained how difficult for people looking for housing in Nairobi. The main challenge is lack of information. On this front, I began a project that will collect some information, which will provide some start for those looking for housing in different areas in the city.

In the last one month, 33 people have given their responses.




Interesting enough, majority of the respondents, 16 to be exact, live in 2 bedrooms. This may mean that either 2 bedrooms are the most popular rentals in the city, or the most available. Only one way to find out - if you live in a 2 bedroom rental, here’s another survey.

10 of those who filled in the survey live in self contained 1 bedrooms.

5 people have 3 bedrooms, including 2 in Kikuyu, 1 in Ngong and Lower Kabete each, and another around Langata/National Park.

1 respondent has a 4 bedroom, while another one has a self contained bedsitter.
Pricing




Turning to pricing, the price of 1 bedrooms ranges from Kshs. 10,000 in Rongai to Kshs…

Kenyan products: The art of punishing your consumer

Peanut butter used to taste so good, but you could not afford it on the pocket money that you got back in school. A few years later, you have your first real job and your first "disposable" income. You buy your first real tub of peanut butter , probably the first in your life. You feel proud that Dominion peanut butter is manufactured in Ruiru, a town that you visited in your campus days to withdraw your pocket money , it was the nearest bank ATM to your campus. This was before Equity bank became a mainstream bank and decided to open an ATM in your campus, and before M-Pesa meant that you could withdraw your pocket money next to the kibanda  where you had your one meal of the day.

The peanut butter though is a far cry form the peanut butter you remember. It does not taste that good, and turns into some sort of stone barely before you are a third way through the jar. The stone is not a kind that you learned about in your Geography classes though.

Dejectedly, you decide not …

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…