personal stories

A day in Lagos Market…

There are two unofficial rules in our house when it comes to going to Lagos (Balogun) market- one, no holding phones and two, all cash should be placed in my mum’s bag. This first is due to the ridiculously high rate of pick pocketing. It feels like the thieves are waiting for that one person who would dare them. I refuse to let it be me. As for the second rule, well, with the way my mum holds her bag in the market, it’s going to take The entire avengers and some more, to steal or snatch it from her. She is a walking vault.

This Monday, my mum, my sister and I were decked up in the “appropriate” market attire. What is that, you say? Well, its going to the market in clothes which are not so fine that the market sellers increase the prices of their goods and, they’re not beggar shabby either, that the sellers completely ignore you, because they think you can’t afford it. 

As usual, we used public transport which is super cheap but, can also be wrecked with chaos at times. A few minutes into the journey, there was a bit of traffic on the road; (typical Lagos of course). Turns out, a policeman in the traffic was trying to and successfully, extorted bribe from the bus driver beside ours. Next thing I knew, my heavily perfumed seat partner was shouting at the passenger by the window, to put his hand through the window and slap the head of the policeman in retaliation for the extortion. We were barely into the journey and someone was already about to get us arrested… what other travails will the day bring.

Photo credit: NairaLand

My sister and I needed dresses for an event which was to take place on Thursday. I know, we shouldn’t have waited so late to get it. There is a  reason for that of course, but, that’s a blog post for another day. I digress. I wanted to come to the market in December, but my mum discouraged it. Her reason- the market is usually so crowded during Christmas season that there is barely any breathing space. It is either push or be pushed. 

A filled up Lagos Marker. Photocredit: Nigeria Gallery

Secondly or most importantly, during Christmas season, clothes are so expensive because people are desperate to buy them. A week after new year, the market would be empty, and prices would be down to the extent that the sellers beg  customers to patronize them. I looked around the market and noticed how free it’s streets were, that was a good sign. In the next hour, we kept on walking from shop to shop, coming out dejected because the prices were just unreasonably high. Turns out, not everyone follows the December Christmas rule, I felt betrayed. 

During our walk for the dresses, I had to shout at two men for touching my arm in the market, simply so that I would patronize them (I mean, I wasn’t deaf when you called me).

I met a shop owner who assumed my sister and I were teenagers, fifteen-eighteen to be exact. She brought these floral patterned gowns for us to try on which, even if i was a teenager, I wouldn’t have worn.

Photo credit:

And then there was the man who encroached so much into my personal space, it felt like he was trapping me from the front. But before I could raise my voice at him, I heard a voice behind me, screaming “Leave my child alone!” I didn’t need to look, there is only one person with that voice, my mother.

But at the end of the day, despite our legs aching from walking, the dusts, the noise, the rush, we finally got the perfect gowns for almost half the prices we were told initially in the earlier shops. I guess if you want the best things in life, you have to be willing to put in work, turns out that also applies to shopping. All the stress wasn’t for nothing. I left the market with the gown I wanted and the flu virus I did not want. How, you say? Its just one of the travails of going to Lagos market.

The gown… I know, thats a lot of shimmer 😅

And that was how I spent my Monday. It’s the end of the week today, how has your week been? Do share in the comments section below

10 thoughts on “A day in Lagos Market…”

  1. Oh how I love where I live even more now! It sounds like the “wild west” there. I was in college with two Nigerians (a long time ago now) who both came from Lagos. Their stories didn’t sell it too well either! Take care Ameena.

    Liked by 1 person

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