By Emmeline Bisiikwa, Uganda:
Sometimes I long for the old days where there was variety and choice in what we bought. There were so many things to choose from that we didn't feel like we were wasting money. Maybe we had more money or there were fewer obligations. Shopping sprees could be gone on without guilt about what more you could have done with the money or the uselessness of items bought.
The tag customer is like an albatross round our necks. There is an obligation to consume, pay or buy something. Walking into a supermarket just to window shop is almost unheard of. You must find something to interest you, even at a ridiculous price lest you draw curious attention to yourself.
Exploiting this weakness are the sellers. Knowing that we have no choice but to buy, they place exorbitant prices on goods, reduce variety, package nicely, all in a bid to trap more unsuspecting souls.
As if that isn't bad enough, you have to put up with the rude ones, the nosy ones and even the dirty ones. We have become slaves to our wants and are treated that way. The waiters become more insolent as food takes longer to be delivered in restaurants. You might have to wait 30 or more minutes and you can't do a thing about it. Of course your empty stomach led you to a place it expected reprieve from.
Shopping in crowded places like markets is even worse when vendors set prices at a whim, knowing you have nowhere else to buy from. Add a crowd to such a scene and you will lose your cool amidst the shoving, trampling, smell and noise. We are helpless to change this since the tables have turned and the customer is no longer king.
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