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Christmas: Shoppers at malls also complain of high prices

By Omowunmi Olaniyi and Blessing Udonya
15 December 2019   |   1:21 am
People that prefer shopping at malls located around the metropolis are joining in the rush to buy necessary commodities, as Christmas draws near.

People that prefer shopping at malls located around the metropolis are joining in the rush to buy necessary commodities, as Christmas draws near. They are thronging shopping centres in search of quality products at good bargain. But they are not really succeeding in this. Yes, good products are in abundance, but their prices are so high, just like in the open markets.

And the shoppers are not finding it funny.At the Spar Shopping Mall in Ilupeju, it was obvious the management is already in a festive mood, and is wishing its numerous customers the best of the Season. The centre is decorated with trees, balloons and lights in Christmas colours.

But Mrs. Jumoke Odulaja, a shopper, appeared not so impressed with all this, as she complained that the prices of goods were too high.She said: “In other countries like Europe and the U.S, the idea is to bring down prices of goods, so that people can have fun and really enjoy themselves during festive seasons. But in our country, the opposite is what obtains. It is during festive periods that prices skyrocket. You can’t begin to imagine how much rice, oil and some other basic items cost.

“If there is any way government can assist to make sure things are cheap during and after Christmas, it will be a way of giving back to the society. And I’m sure everyone will be happy, including those that are not so rich. Really, I personally feel festive periods like this should be made an avenue to make citizens feel good and know they have caring leaders.”

Did she get quality goods to justify the high prices?
“Yes, the items are of high quality, which is why we keep buying them. It is just like Shoprite, where I also do my shopping. They have high quality products,” she said.

A group of students from Agbeyewa Memorial College, Ilupeju said they prefer Spar to some other malls, as they get discounts on food and drinks. “For instance, a bottle of Pepsi or Fanta is sold for N80, while others are selling them for N100. We also come here because there is variety of goods to choose from. Spar also gives discounts during festive periods like Christmas. That is why we like the place. Right now in Spar, if you buy two pieces of meat pie, sausage rolls and things like that, you get a bottle of Pepsi or Mirinda free. There are also Christmas toys for children to play with,” they explained.

But Gbenga Osho, another customer said prices of goods at Spar are okay by him.“The mall is unique because of the different types of goods they have. And even if the prices are on the high side, you get your money’s worth, which is what matters to me,” he said.

A salesman at Spar, Ihena Chukwuemeka, said the shopping mall is offering discounts to its customers, as well as promos to cushion the effect of high prices of some products.He said: “Although customers may complain that our goods are expensive, our prices are definitely lower than what you get outside, especially at this festive period. This is why some people prefer to do their shopping here.”

At Maryland Shopping Mall, customers are also being treated nicely to encourage them buy things, in spite of the high prices. Not only is the place decorated to reflect the spirit of the season, some items, especially foods and drinks are being sold at discounted prices.

Mrs. Toyin Abiodun, a customer said there is not much difference in the prices of goods last Christmas and this year’s.“The prices of some goods have increased, while others remain the same,” she said. “Those items, whose prices have increased include vegetable oil, rice and spaghetti, among others. I prefer shopping malls to open markets because they are more comfortable and you do your shopping more quickly and in an organised manner.”Abraham Daji, a sales person at the mall, said there is a promo for customers to celebrate the season.

At Ikeja Shopping Mall, Alausa, buyers from different walks of life thronged the place to do Christmas shopping. The place was still in the process of being decorated, as those handling it were putting finishing touches. Buyers moved around trying to locate the items they wanted, while some sat at the sections to hang out. They were given free drinks at the eateries after buying snacks or food.

And though she thanked the Lord for His protection over her family throughout the year and was in a celebratory mood, Madam Joyce said the only discouraging thing is the prices of goods, especially clothes.“I wonder what this country is turning into. The prices of things are so high, compared to last year. The cloth I normally buy at the shopping mall at N15, 000 is now sold for N21, 000. If I should buy the cloth for that amount, that means I won’t be able to buy clothes for my children,” she said.

On her part, Mrs. Olayemi, another customer, said she was bothered by the prices of basic things like chicken, rice and oil, which are quite high.“Compared to last year, prices of things are very high,” she said. “But one should just buy whatever is possible and pray that things get better next year.”A visit to Spar Shopping Mall, Ikeja showed the same trend of increase in prices of certain items, while some others are reduced.

The sellers at the eatery complained of reduced profit, as the prices of foodstuff have gone up. “Our customers get angry at the quantity of food we serve them,” said Ms. Akintola Bola. “They complain that the food is too small for any particular amount they pay. But it is not our fault. All the foodstuffs we use at the eatery are expensive. We have to keep business afloat.”

“It is only the prices of drinks that are cheaper at Ikeja Spar,” a customer said. “Drinks such as wine that is sold outside for N3, 700, you can get to buy for N1, 700. But if it’s foodstuff or grocery, it is expensive. The chicken I bought last year was sold at N2, 000, but now I bought the same chicken for N2, 500. Everything is increasing daily. A lot of people buy drinks more than the normal groceries because of the low price.”

Although the prices of foodstuff have gone up, but there are still some individuals who are ready to celebrate this season to the fullest.“I will be travelling to my village with my family for Christmas,” said a sales girl at the mall. “We will not buy many things because my family is into farming. So, we might only need to buy a few things. Christmas comes once a year, so people should try and enjoy themselves during the season.”

Another attendant said the mall is witnessing an upsurge in the number of customers this year, compared to last year. “We are making more sales this year. Maybe because we try to make our customers feel relaxed and welcome. Knowing that the prices of some goods have increased, we try to make up for it by giving discounts and doing promo. The result is more customers and more sales.”

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