OPINION: Let’s support our young entrepreneurs, Yajamah
On my way home today, I bought toothpaste from a young man around Custom in Juba. I doubt if he is 18 years old. He could be slightly older than this, but with a very strong Jieng accent. So, I guess he just arrived here.
He had a wheelbarrow full of different items and was selling them at different prices ranging from SSP100 to SSP1000.
I always buy from young people because I know how life is for a young person. But let me tell you something: if you think hawkers make money, please think twice. Don’t bargain; just buy.
I can assure you that he was only getting SSP 50 per item at most. But those items were heavy, and he was sweaty—meaning he has been pushing the wheelbarrow the whole day. So, I paid him SSP 2000 but didn’t even have the balance, an indication that he had not sold a thing.
Look at this scenario, most of the time when we walk into big malls, boutiques, and supermarkets, we never question their prices. We pay exactly what we see on the price tags and even hand out tips to the staff. But the moment we are out of these shops and want to buy bananas and peanuts, our bargaining powers hit the roof.
A poor woman with hungry children at home selling fruits at the roadside tells you that one piece of banana is at SSP100. She even takes her time to explain how difficult it was for her to buy it from the market. But we insist that if it’s not at SSP50 then we are not buying. Some of us even step back to our cars and drive away. But because “having bread is better than nothing,” the woman is forced to run after you and sell with no gain.
In her heart, she cries; she is worried about how she will survive with her children. She silently reassures herself that, it is well since she is not returning home with the banana. Her motivation is that God will definitely provide some other day. Meanwhile, you drive off and happily chop the luscious banana.
Take some seconds to think about this. I am always moved to tears when I see people who genuinely and helplessly hawk petty goods to feed and survive for that day, especially women and children.
Please don’t bargain too much with small vendors. They do business not to buy designer bags, trendy phones, watches, shoes, or designer clothes, but to feed the family and care for the children in school.
“He who gives to the poor leads to his creator.”