In Traditional African society. Market day was a special day; it was the most eagerly awaited day of the week. The young women will plait each other’s hair the day before; mother’s will wake up early in the morning and quickly go through their chores. It served as a meeting place, a place where community would check on each other, if someone didn’t make it, then members of the community will make a mental note to check on them. It was the place where latest news and style would be picked
This is the same African spirit Maasai market embodies and just like any other African market communication is the key to transactions, it’s about making genuine human connections. To have an unforgettable and pleasant experience good communications and the following tips are necessary.
- Avoid brokers: Since it’s a tourist market, Maasai market has dozens of brokers who would approach you mostly at the entrances and ask what you are looking for and turns out they make exactly what you are looking for. They will charge you more than 10 times the price of the product, keeping the lions share and giving the real artisan just the tip. The brokers will lie artisans don’t speak English or the artisans are deaf and dumb. Artisans are entrepreneurs and even if they cant comprehend some English words, they understand the language of money and all lingo that pertains to their work
- Be ready to haggle: Communication is the center point of the market. Prices vary depending on how well you are able to express yourself as well as establish a connection. If you are African, the quoted price is probably double the normal price and for a foreigner it may be up to five times more. This is because it’s believed that Africans don’t value authentic handmade items like tourists do.
- Product uniformity: Buy from vendors who are selling only related products. Variety in the market means resellers hence high price.
- Wholesale prices: Vendors have two price points; wholesale and retail, with wholesale being almost half of retail. And all you need to to qualify is buy an additional two or three depending on vendor policy. Why not get three m for a little over the retail price of one.
- Walk away: If you are not satisfied with the price or quality walk away, chances are the vendor will budge and come after you and if your issue is with quality there are hundreds of vendors, you will most likely find another one selling the same item.
6. Don’t overdress: The vendors will judge your purchase power based on how expensive you look. The fancier you look, the pricier the quotation.
Take your time, explore the market and blend into the spirit of African smile, wave, talk make it an experience.