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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Buying fron Hawkers in Kenya: Cons and Pros

The streets of major towns and cities in Kenya are littered by 3 groups of people; preachers, hawkers, beggers and idlers. As economy bites, the third and fourth groups are diminishing. However, the number of hawkers are going to reduce any time soon.

Hawking business in Kenya has been  facing major challenges and especially from the county askaris who nets and bundle the street vendors and their wares to the patrol vans. More often, you
will encounter Nairobi hawkers dropping their wares as they scrumble for safety, away from the city county authorities. The vendors in these streets have however out beaten the county askaris to some extent. For instance in Nairobi, the hawkers usually display their goods on some collapsible curton boxes. This means that the pedlers in can easily dismantle the display, gather their wares and disappear into the dark corridors before getting caught by the askaris.

In as much as the county governments in Kenya are working
towards containing the street vendors in one strategic position in the towns (Muthurwa, city park and Ngara in Nairobi), we all must admit these street sellers can save the day in numerous ways.

The importance of hawkers in our society is huge. You will readily find affordable goods in the streets without putting in too much search effort. Moreover, hawkers sometimes sell distinctive goods making sure that you do not join the 'Kenya Uniform' bandwagon.

Hawkers offer variety, affordability, and convinience that is second to none.

Limitations of Buying from hawkers

Not all is rosy in buying stuff from our street vendors. It is from a hawker where you buy a trouser which is just your waist size (measurement confirmed by the measuring tape on the vendors neck) only to reach home and find that the trouser is twice your waist size.

I recently bought an energy saver bulb along the streets of Nairobi on reaching home the bulb didn't even light.

You may also buy an umbrella, when found offguard by rain, which will only lead you to the bus stop before it breaks to pieces.

Sometimes you lose your money before you even purchase the ware. Pick pockets in our streets can make your shopping spree a nightmare.

In a nutshell, the quality of products you buy from hawkers is not gauranteed and worse still, there is no warranty. You buy it today, it is defective, tomorrow you look for the vendor and he/she is nowhere. Moreover, your safety and that of your money is not gauranteed. You will be knocked down by the same seller when county askaris strike.

All said, shopping from street vendors is a risk but most people will do it to save cost. If you plan in buying fruits and other foodstuff, you will get the best price at almost the same quality. For clothes, jewelry and footwear, you will get low quality at low cost. For electronics and electrical equipment, do not even think of buying one from a hawker.

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