Competition Creates Better Services
It's no news that Nigerians can be really superstitious, I mean there are currently a lot of superstitious beliefs out there that a lot of people are not willing to question and would rather just believe it blindly. This is probably one of the many reasons why we have a lot of churches here and a lot of witches and wizards too. I know because we kill them everyday in our various churches during warfare prayers.
Talking about witches, there used to be this one lady whom myself and my friend thought was a witch. This woman had a shop where she sold all manner of goodies, from biscuits to sweets to anything nice you would probably want as a kid, a provision store is what we call it. But you see this particular lady who owns this store had a very terrible character and would always insult her customers whenever they did something wrong, even if it was something done by mistake.
Her character was so bad that myself and my friends began to wonder why people still go to her shop to buy things from her. We had other stores in the area who sold the same things like she did (although theirs weren't as big as hers and they most time wouldn't have a thing or two) and we always wondered why only few people frequented those other shops.
It didn't take long for us to conclude that she was a witch, because only a witch would talk to her customers that way because she was confident that her witchcraft, black magic, voodoo or whatever it was would always bring us back to her. So we all made a promise to never go buy something from her anymore, it didn't take two days for us to break that promise.
But it didn't take long for me to realize that though that woman might indeed be a witch (a lot of people in the area said so), the only reason she was getting all of those customers were because she had all of the services we needed and no competition at all. I mean there were shops here and there but none of them really could stand up against hers and she knew it, and that was why she behaved the way she wanted, not caring what anyone thought of her.
In an environment where there are really good competitors, she would be forced to be nice to her customers because she knows that if she isn't, they would go somewhere else and she would be left with no one buying from her.
A good example is currently what is happening at the front of my hostel where we have two ladies directing facing each other and running the same kind of business.
This is a POS business and what these ladies basically do is that instead of you going to the bank to make use of the ATM machine to withdraw money, they have a machine that does that for them. So you give them your ATM card and they help you withdraw any amount you want right in your presence for a fee.
Now both of this ladies charge equal fees, no one is charging higher or lower than the next person. There's a fixed price for the fees so they can't charge higher because we have like ten other people down the street doing the same kind of business and we can easily move to the next person if one of them decides to be greedy with their fees.
There are usually shops on both sides of the street but this picture was taken on a Sunday, so most of them went to church.
One may wonder how do both ladies get their customers, well aside from random strangers who just walk up to any of both umbrellas to make their withdrawals, they mostly get their customers through the way they relate with people. I personally mostly go to the lady under the blue umbrella because amongst the two of them, she's the one who talks to me the most and always tries to be more friendly.
All of that might just be business tactics but honestly I don't care. What matters to me is the quality of service I'm getting from her which is great, but the truth is that it might not be that great if she didn't have a really good competitor directly in front of her and also a dozen more scattered down the street, waiting for her to slip up just once so that they could grab all of her customers.
So what am I trying to say?
Competition is good, especially if you're a consumer because good competition means good services. So next time, if the lady down your street is being rude to her customers, it's either one of two things. It's either she's a witch or there just isn't a good enough competition for her yet, both of which are not good for you.
© All images used here are mine.