The Side Chats

The only conductor that did not keep true to his word about the fare he was going to charge me was one in a Kenya Mpya last week Monday. I wanted to pay 50 shillings from a considerable distance. Well, according to my mathematics, the sum was okay but the man felt like I was exploiting him. I gave him my 100 shillings note and he deducted 70 instead of 50, the audacity. Before I started feeling the pinch for money, haha, I mean before I started paying my own bills, I never used to have a discussion “at the back of the tent” with the conductor pleading my cause with the fare. I would just board and give the guy his money. Nowadays, I usually have that side-talk every day before I board the matt. And he must agree with my fee else am not boarding the matt. Well, I am not always in a hurry, or so I make him not see my urgency. Am yet to find a lady that does not bargain, especially after she has started paying her bills. I have had an encounter with chief bargainers if I may call them that and their bargaining skills are just out of this world. One of them is my mum and the other is my bestie.

I saw a meme that stated that if you do not have a “sidechat” with the tout then you are rich. If you do not have the exact money while boarding a mat, hehe, what can we shall say (wrong drama intentional)? And if you are alighting at a service lane that the drivers always avoid, then you know the struggle of a Kenyan laborer. Loud music, hiking fare once you board and especially if it rains (as if money rains also), and having to keep on reminding the tout that he owes you some balance. My two besties can actually bargain the fare to half price- a girl child never has money, how now. I have also seen them dress the part while going to purchase an item, you do not go to Gikomba in make-up, just small Arimis petroleum Jelly will do_ the vendor will see you as a small person (murimi munini) and give you a unique discount.

The bus chronicles have also taught me that your bargain is only strongest when you outside the bus. Before, boarding, you can make whatever crazy demands you want to the tout. However, when you board the vehicle, that is the end of your demands. If you did not say that you’re paying via your phone while outside the vehicle, the conductor might make your life a living hell. Others even ask for a transaction fee, talk of exploitation 101. You may call it exploitation but allow me to call you a poor bargainer- you did not make your claim when you had the power. If you feel the music is too loud or vulgar, it is wise to also state it while you are outside the matt, else you might end up suffering the consequences of your silences. Buses kinda remind me of the question by the pastor while joining the bride and the groom, He goes something like, ” if anyone ha a reason why these two should not be joined together, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Am being extreme I know.

You see, just like any other commitment there is no alighting a bus without a cost, neither are life commitments. Whether you tell the conductor that the route they are going is not the same as yours or you forgot an item at home, you will have to pay for the mileage. So before boarding a bus you have to make sure that you are okay with whatever service they are offering. I mean, is the car old or new, does it allow luggage, is it a shukisha beba kinda vehicle or will it take you to your destination express? Will it use the service lanes or you will have to alight huko mbali because they do not want to leave the highway. How is the music on the bus, is it playing gengetone full-blast or soft music? Well, we are busy Kenyans and we have to make sure that every coin we spend gives us value for our money. The only place you can make all these demands is when you are yet to board; otherwise, once you have boarded the mat, the tout and his driver are the bosses. However, sometimes our exhaustion of waiting at the stage for long might blind us to the fact that we end up accepting mediocre. This is especially true because of the curfews that have been stipulated by the government. So we settle, bora ufike home.

The world has a bargaining kind of system. Young lady if you are not stating clearly what you want before you get into any commitment, you had better know that the other party had made his calculations whether you are suitable for him or not, they actually stopped and you did not hail them to. What are your non-negotiables? For a passenger they will be something like, the destination is a constant. What about you young lady. Do you have non-negotiables?

Sometimes we just want to be on the move. Especially in this era and age where we want something for the Gram. Sometimes we just want to be in motion. The wait might become so long to the point that we just want to take up anything that can move. Well, settling for a job or a house or any material thing can be forgivable, but not so with whom you choose to make a home. We all need to learn the skill of these sidechats with any person you view as a potential. A man has equal rights of asking what he is getting from the lady and so has the lady. No one should feel attacked by the sidechats at all. The reason why I sidechat a tout is that am honestly considering boarding the vehicle and he should not feel attacked by my desire to want him to go low on the price. It only means that that is the much I am willing to offer. Secondly, I respect him so much to the point that I do not want to raise the issue while on the bus. The sidechats are important because no one wants to board something that they will only alight later without reaching to where they wanted to go. It is funny that no one just boards a vehicle just to pass time but we will find many people getting into commitments for that exact reason. Sometimes it feels like our preferences are misplaced.

Sometimes those that come to shop will leave you still bargaining with the vendor. Others will come immediately and find the Bus that suits them but do not be pressured dearly beloved, you will get your preferred choice sooner or later, and at your preferred price. Even if there will be a compromise for you to go up a little on your price, the vendor will also have to come a little lower. I must say that there will be a compromise, but do not buy something at the cost of an arm or a leg (I hope you get me). The bible says that whoever believes does not make haste. So when you’re hasty about making any commitment, especially lifelong commitments ask yourself why there is too much haste, and at the heart of it, you will realize that there is an aspect of unbelief.

While we are in the mood for Labor Day and making the nation great and making great business bargains, let’s not forget to also adopt a skill or two in our personal investments. Xiao.

 


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6 Comments

  1. Very interesting, I love how I identify with the examples here…… Know when and how to make my bargain. Thank you gal

  2. Wow, talking of non negotiables or the deal breakers. Its important to articulate them before committing to anyone. This is such an amazing read and as always, I admire how you draw inspiration from the most unique and weirdest situations. You are blessed girl.

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