Working for time or money?

Last Friday, as I left an art exhibition belonging to a colleague of mine, I decided to pick up a few groceries to take home. I tend to be a sporadic shopper most of the time.  I checked on my watch and it was a few minutes past 11 pm. As I walked towards the supermarkets at Kiseminti area, I wondered whether I would be lucky to find any store still open.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

Last Friday, as I left an art exhibition belonging to a colleague of mine, I decided to pick up a few groceries to take home. I tend to be a sporadic shopper most of the time.  I checked on my watch and it was a few minutes past 11 pm. As I walked towards the supermarkets at Kiseminti area, I wondered whether I would be lucky to find any store still open.

Although I was a little optimistic, I was shocked to find all the supermarkets in the area closed save for just one near Civitas Hotel named Lorenzo Supermarket. I silently wondered why others were closed yet this place is close to a residential area and has enough security to operate for 24 hours.

Is it not strange that Nakumatt supermarket which is in the city centre can operate for more hours than supermarkets that are strategically located?

When Kigali city was celebrating 100 years in 2007 one of the highlights was the call by the then city mayor that traders ought to work for 24 hours in order to close the gap between Kigali and other regional cities.

Since then, security in Kigali city has been improved with streetlights covering almost the entire city road network. More importantly, Police are always on patrol to ensure maximum safety.  With such conditions I wonder why one would rush to close their shop. 

As if that was not enough, when I eventually reached Nyabugogo, I noticed that Amahoro restaurant which is located at the main taxi park was actually closed yet it has a huge sign proclaiming that it is open 24 hours! Why promise what you can not deliver?

Those engaged in business ought to be clear about their motives. Are you open to keep track of time or open to keep track of sales (money)? Government offices for example have to keep track of time because their operations are determined by something called ‘working hours’.

Other businesses on the other hand ought to be keeping their eye on the money and not on the clock. The old school attitude of closing shops on time should not be applicable in these modern times. Rigid shop owners who turn away buyers on the pretext of ‘twakinze’ make me sick.

With the prevailing security and the growth of Kigali city, wise shop owners ought to keep their shops open for longer hours to make that extra franc. You don’t have to go the whole 24 hours right away. You can simply keep extending your working hours so as to serve more customers and thus make more money.

I do not see anything special about Nakumatt Supermarket’s 24 hours policy at UTC. All you need is extra staff and adequate security. Residential places ought to spearhead this 24 hour spirit by staying open till late.

I don’t see a reason why places like Nyamirambo, Kimironko, Gatsata, Giporoso, Kicukiro, or even Kanombe should not have stores operating for 24 hours. The moment customers know that a place is open till late they will certainly show up. It’s not a matter of where will the customers come from. It is therefore a shame that the Kiseminti Supermarket owners are satisfied with working for time instead of money. 

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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