Business COMMENTARY:Varied experiences in shopping

When we need something to buy, it may never occur to us how different the options before us really are. The whole shopping experience keeps changing depending on whether you are in a supermarket, a flea market or the shop around the corner.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

When we need something to buy, it may never occur to us how different the options before us really are. The whole shopping experience keeps changing depending on whether you are in a supermarket, a flea market or the shop around the corner.

I have shopped from different places and with time, I have noticed that each particular shopping experience offers some unique lessons. For example, shopping at the shop near my home is more of a social engagement than anything else.

Before I mention what it is exactly that I need, I instinctively find myself greeting the shopkeeper and sometimes I even engage in the conversations that I find going on. It is not rare for the shopkeeper to ask me where I am from or where I am going.

Such shops are good for basic home essentials and with good relations, one may have the privilege of buying things on credit. The credit worthiness comes from the fact that you stay close to the shop so you are expected to pay or risk your reputation in the community as a bad debtor.

Then we have the huge open air markets outside the city. They may not be so different from other permanent markets that have several stalls just like Kimironko market. Here, it is a totally different setup.

In these markets, the numerous traders live like a family even when they are competing for profits. For example, when you buy something and ask for another item like carrots, the trader simply picks them from her neighbour without much a do.

It is also interesting to note that when they have no customers to attend to, the traders indulge in story-telling as if to keep their morale levels high. These markets are the best places to go to if one is interested in fresh produce. The traders bring produce to the market sometimes fresh from their gardens and most of the stock is sold by the end of the day.

On the other hand, supermarkets are not likely to stock fresh goods and many commodities are kept in freezers for hours, days and sometimes weeks. More so, some of these goods are from miles away so the idea of being fresh is lost even before they get to the supermarket itself.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that supermarkets offer buyers a great deal of convenience as well as choice. Due to the large spaces they tend to occupy, one is likely to find almost everything under one roof and so it saves on the time one would have spent buying different things from different places.

Groceries, bread, meat, clothes, cups and even stationery are all placed under the same roof in a supermarket. However, unlike the small shops and the markets, there is little social interaction in the supermarkets.

All you do is walk around the shelves, see what you want, look at the price and if you like it, you place it in the shopping cart. At the counter, your goods are scanned, price established and then you pay and walk out. It is quite cool to shop from the different shops/markets for totally different experiences.

 

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