One good thing about Lagos – the commercial capital of Nigeria is the fact that it has a lot of markets that sprawl the nooks and crannies of the mega city.
You can get virtually anything you want from a number of markets even though certain markets are known for selling specific merchandise such as Alaba market which is known for electronics gadgets, Computer village in Ikeja known for computers, phones and anything related to Information technology and Ladipo Market known for automobile spare parts.
One unique thing about Lagos Markets and indeed most markets in Nigeria is the fact that the prices of goods and services offered are not fixed for almost every type of goods on sale.
More so, there are always people who can get good value for money because they know the right things to say to get sellers to sell their wares at the cheapest price possible. These people know how to put slangs and market lingo to their advantage by coming down to the level of the market sellers and speaking the language they understand.
If you intend to get the best deal possible, switch from the Queen’s English you’re used to and adopt the pidgin or vernacular language market sellers are used to to get the best bargain possible.
Here are some of the slangs you should know.
This slang is much more common in markets in the south Western part of Nigeria. Jale is a Yoruba word which loosely means ‘last or least’. In Nigerian market lingo, it means you’re asking the seller the last possible price they are willing to sell their wares. A lot of Nigerian sellers will usually offer you an initial price that is twice the actual price of what you want to buy. This is where you should employ your bargaining skills and insist on the last price by saying ‘Jale’, which can make you get the goods at a cheap price. If you’re not sure you’re offered a good bargain, attempt to walk away and you will most likely have the seller call you back to give you the Jale price!
The word ‘Customer’ as it relates to the market can be used to describe both the buyer and the seller. The word can go a long way in determining how cheap or expensive you get to buy a product. By calling a seller your ‘customer’, you give them the impression that they’re the only one you buy wares from and that will most likely help you get a good bargain.
This is another Yoruba word that refers to someone that loves to haggle and beat the prices of goods down to the barest minimum. The fact is bargaining requires a level of skillful dexterity but it is also important to know when to stop. When a seller refers to you as an Alaroro, chances are they will give you the worst item possible at the low price you’re bargaining for. You can switch the tables around by telling the seller that you’re their ‘customer’ and not an Alaroro. This will be to your advantage and you’d most likely get more value for your money.
The term Fisi means to ‘add more’ and that is usually used when you are purchasing something that has a certain amount of quantity such as fried yam, plantain and beans cake. It can also be used interchangeably with the word ‘Jara’ which loosely means a discount in Nigerian market parlance. means extra or discount. It may be virtually impossible for you to use the term ‘Fisi’ or ‘Jara’ when you are buying a tuber of yam or a loaf of bread, it can however be used when you’re purchasing items like foodstuffs, meat or pepper. It simply means you’re g for extra quantity alongside what you’re buying at no extra cost.
The term First Grade is used in describing items sold as second hand or fairly used. Such items may include clothes, bags, electronics and any other thing that still has good second hand value. Such items are however categorised into different grades, with the first grade materials being the best of the lot and is closer to being new.
You will need to convince a seller that you want a first grade item that is still in good shape. Most times, such items are not kept on display but are rather kept inside the shop for customers that understand the way and manner the markets work. Insist on having a first grade item whenever you want to buy a fairly used item and you’d most likely get good value for your money.
PS: If you have some more tips to surviving Lagos markets, share them with us in the comments section.