A New Year beckons, but not a new Kenyan buyer-seller relationship

To be a ‘cool’ enough Kenyan, you must wait until the last possible minute and then complain ….

A new year beckons, but not a new Kenyan I’ll bet. No. I won’t; I’ll guarantee it. So sure am I, that I’m writing this well before Christmas Day.  After all, the peculiar Kenyan buyer-seller habits at this time are as predictable as our insatiable appetite for doing things at the very last minute. In sharp contrast to its Christian inclination, I don’t know what devil overcomes us this festive season. The average Kenyan is likely still on holiday and in complete denial of the financial commitments that await him upon his return. Did he plan for this holiday? Oh yes he did; in all of ten minutes of receiving his December salary which was paid earlier than usual.

Mercifully, some sellers like the Ministry of Education released the results of the national examinations in advance of the holidays. Was this good news? Yes; for all of two minutes. Then the fleeting joy turned into disappointment; not at the child’s results, no. But because denial is sweeter than reality. Now, “they are forcing us to do back-to-school shopping and we haven’t gone on holiday yet.” As absurd as that may sound, it’s a perfectly normal statement to the peculiar Kenyan. And so, propelled by denial he chooses to go on holiday (read, the village) anyway. Given how he simply must go to the village, it must be where he’ll get his annual dose of oxygen to see him through 2019.

I digressed. Where was I? Oh yes. So, he is currently in denial holiday mode and will predictably come back straight to a bookshop where he will find the sellers primed for him. You see, the sellers understand the Kenyan. They don’t condone his habits but, if they are to sell successfully, they must align themselves to them. And they do this by flooding the shop floor with sales personnel because parents will equally flood the bookshop with their children in tow. Forget that the parent could have done back to school shopping in November and had the bookshop and uniform outlet all to himself. No. That doesn’t qualify you as a ‘cool’ enough Kenyan. To be one, you must wait until the last possible minute and then do what you did just before you travelled. Complain. Complain that the fares are hiked and yet you must travel; and now, complain that the book prices are costly and, wait for it, “We spent all the money during the holiday.” If you find that absurd, you are not a cool enough Kenyan. Meanwhile, media outlets are keen on selling too. So, prospecting for news, they were at the bus termini interviewing departing travellers and, like clockwork will be at the bookshop interviewing them on their return. The Kenyan buyer does not disappoint during this festive season. You can take that to the bank.

Wanna bet he won’t change in 2019?

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