Low patronage, lamentations and mixed feelings trail this year’s Valentine
A visit to Yaba Market by The Guardian revealed that while traders displayed an array or red and white clothes, roses, teddy bears and so on, for sale, customers were few and far in between. Speaking with one of the traders who gave his name as John Obiora, he lamented that sales has been so low and that he was confused whether Valentine was next week or next month.
“My sister, it is really bad. The few people that come here just come to price my goods and go. I will talk till saliva finish in my mouth, yet they won’t buy anything. The state of the economy is really bad and people seem not interested in buying clothes again. Even people selling okrika are complaining, let alone we that are selling ready-made,” he said.
At the Tejuosho Market, it was the same tales of woe and despair by the traders, who claimed that last year was far better than what they are experiencing now. Blessing Moses, CEO of Heavenly Cakes lamented the high cost of raw materials for making cakes, explaining that the overhead costs is responsible for hike in the price of cake and pastries.
According to her: “Flour, sugar, eggs, butter and so on have gone up so much. It is unbelievable. They are now twice the price they were last year and so we have had to increase the price of Valentine cakes. Whenever I call price for people, they will say they will get back to me and I won’t hear from them again. I have done few Valentine cakes almost at cost price just to satisfy customers and remain in business, but we cannot continue like this.”
Another trader, who trades on perfumes and roses, decried the situation of things, claiming he hasn’t sold a single rose as at yesterday. “I started selling cheaper perfumes because customers are complaining that the designer perfumes are too expensive. Even with the cheaper perfumes, sales have been dismal. Something has to change fast, unless government wants us to die.”
Speaking with a customer buying a bottle of perfume there, he said he was buying for his fiancée, because she had been on his neck to get her something.
“I am not getting her anything else apart from this perfume, because things are too expensive now. We are not going anywhere on Valentine’s Day. We would stay at home and celebrate our love. Besides, I am sure she wouldn’t appreciate roses, so no point wasting scarce resources on that,” he said.
In the same vein, Haroon Adeshola, an undergraduate of Lagos State University (LASU), said that the recession is affecting his plan for the celebration.
He said: “I have a lot of plans for the coming Valentine but the recession in the country will not permit me to do most of the things I wish to do on that day, such as going to the mall and cinema. Although, the school is planning to organise a party at the Love Garden, I don’t like a rowdy environment. I prefer a cool places like cinema for my Val. I don’t have any plan to give my girlfriend a gift, but I will give her on her birthday,” he said.
A businesswoman, Mrs Ronke Martins said: “Recession or no recession, I have told my husband that what I want as a gift on Valentine’s Day is a phone. I do exchange gifts with my husband every Valentine’s Day to promote the spirit of love. I will go for shopping with my husband and visit one of the best eateries to enjoy a delicious meal.”
Mr. Akin Badmus, a polytechnic student said: “Celebrating this Valentine will just have to be put on hold, maybe when another festive period comes and when there is money we can do it well. For now, we have to cut our clothes according to our size.