As a baker and caterer and having been in the food business for awhile, some of the tips comes from experience of frequently visit to the market.Aside from the fact that even before I ventured into food business ,I have been going to the market frequently because of my love for cooking/food. And it might interest you to know my university final year project was on Mile 12 market in Lagos state.
1. Appearance; this is very important if you are going to the traditional typical Nigerian market like mile 12 market in Lagos ,Bodija market in Ibadan ,Oba oja market in ilorin etc. No one is saying you should look scattered and dirty because you are going to the market but you should not be looking like you are going for a meal date ,movie date or you are going to see a king(you get the drift) ,simplicity is very important. Having a market- like appearance makes the market people take you more seriously and they do not have to start giving such high price or higher price of food items than necessary because your appearance which makes them think you can afford it ( even though ,yes you can afford it). And this also reduces your bargaining time.
2. This works so so well for me. Have a particular person you patronize for a particular food item, build a market bond with that person, this helps especially when that product is scare or the prices of such items increases or when you even run short of cash in the market. How do you do this? You might have gone round and related with sellers selling that particular product, you can decide to stick with the one that has a friendly attitude or whatever reason works for you, be consistent, when you want to buy that item in the market, buy from that person, once in a while the goods might not look as attractive has others but buy anyways if you can. For instance, I buy from a particular woman who sells tomato and pepper in the market, over time, she noticed this and started adding extra for me, I end up getting a tomato worth of 500naira above the normal 300naira I pay for. I also have a rice seller I buy from, she tells me the best rice brand to buy at every turn, maybe the particular brand I used to buy is not good again, she will tell me.
3. If you are not sure of the price and you are given a certain price, start bargaining by slashing the price from half,then you and the seller negotiate the item around there, most times you will get a fairer price. For instance, the meat seller shows you portion of meat and says 1000 naira, start by saying 500 naira, most times,the seller would reduce the price, when he does, reduce it again, at the end you end up buying it for about 600naira/700naira.
4. Learn or study seasons of different food items, vegetable, Fruit etc. And work your food plan/diet to that season, you end up spending less when it comes to food although a few food items are needed all year round ,regardless the season, for instance goods like tomatoes ,we all knew stew can not be done without in almost all Nigerian home.
5. Know the market day in your community/neighbour. It could be very 9 days, every two weeks, so you do not end up going to the market a day before or after the market day when you could have just gone on the market day and get a lot of food items at a cheaper price with varities to choose from.
6. Avoid buying food items few days to a festive season like Christmas ,new year, easter, Sallah, most times the price will be slightly higher or if not eat higher than the usual price but there is nothing you can do about it other than buy it most times because you want eat or cook.
7. Learn to smile and be friendly in the market, see the market women/men as your friend at that point in time you are in the market , if possible,say a little joke. No matter how strong faced some of them can be, they loosen up although a few do not but nothing wrong with taking chances, yeah.
8. Try to go to the market in the morning / early hours of the day, like between 7am- 11am, it helps you get the best products especially products like vegetables, not just products, you tend to get the best bargain because market day is just starting for the traders, they want to start by selling goods/products to kickstart the market vibes. Also in terms of weather, you will have a better market experience than going in on a afternoon when the weather is mostly likely hot and the market tends to get overcrowded by people and as well as a little dirty.
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