My favourite route home from school cuts through the popular New Benin market, Benin City and for over four years of taking this route, I have amassed a wealthy bank of knowledge from observing and being victim of the verbal and physical abuse by market characters. Here are a few ways to keep your sanity in a similar situation.
- Do NOT Believe Anything They Say: I’m not trying to say that everyone you meet in a market place is trying to rip you off or sell you Aba-made for the price of original Gucci. What I’m trying to say is that everyone you meet in a market place is trying to rip you off or sell you Aba-made for the price of original Gucci. Beware of those people who would sing “aunty, na only original I dey sell for here” in the most solemn voice, those people actually mean the opposite of what they say.
- Do NOT Attempt to Fall for their Flattery: Just in case a very beautiful lady calls you ‘fine boy’ or a certain uncouth and terribly looking young man calls you ‘fine girl’ or ‘my colour’, my brother and sister, those people are not serious. They will turn on you the slightest chance and eat you alive. Do NOT in any way and by any means believe the slightest of what they say. Na wash!!!
- Do NOT Attempt to Cuss Back: While in a typical market place, if someone calls you ‘ashawo’ or ‘bastard’, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT cuss back. Pretend that word is your middle name and keep moving. For the good of your mental stability. Thank me later.
- Do NOT ever get into a Market Brawl: No matter what happened, no matter the sting of the insult or the size of your biceps or the weight of the anger pulsating against your chest, never you try to settle a score with a market element by fighting. You will regret it for the rest of your life. This fact is scientifically and empirically proven by no one.
- Do NOT take their word for it: If a woman selling corn tells you that the corn she’s selling were harvested and cooked that very day, do not believe her. You must keep an open mind while dealing with these people and be resolute in your decision. If you are buying anything, be fully aware that you have been grossly cheated and that this is the worst bargain there is. If things turn out otherwise, well… lucky you.
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