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Fire and Witchcraft Tactics For Over-Voters. Critical News, 9th June 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 9, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My reckless adventure into selling street side top-ups, taught me a valuable lesson this week.  I usually buy credit from Kojo Mbrah (his real name), been doing so for at least a year and we have become good buddies.  I get the occasional credit, same as I get from my newspaper boy Kwesi at the foothills of McCarthy Hill.  They are always surprised that sometimes their Obroni does not have five cedis to make the essential purchase.  Anyway, in a dare with Kojo I challenged that I could sell more credit with less effort than he does in a day.  He took me on, Tuesday morning and I parked opposite Abrantie Spot at La Paz and hit the streets with a stack of top up cards trusted to me by Mr. Mbrah.  I spent planning time and placed the cards in separate pockets to ease delivery, and with a list of all my stock, I trumped east side, close enough to the traffic lights as I see them do every time.  Fifteen minutes later I had sold two cedis and the race for the cars was hot, not counting the rising sun and no adjustable air conditioning.  I am pushing harder and harder, profiling my competitors and gauging their positioning strategy on the curbs.  In an hour, my sales tally was still two cedis.  Nobody is buying from me, customers are taken and loyalty to sellers is key.  I have become an enigma rather than a novelty item, which I was counting on.  My bet was I pay Kojo his fifteen cedis profit he makes in a day if I could not sell as many in half the time, and as I am running up and down the road breaking the law, a Trotro labeled “agoro anso a, egu”  (if a game does not prosper, it finishes) made it an easy choice, when it nearly mashed my toes.  I am standing on the curb, fishing invective from my decadent childhood, thinking, Kojo makes four hundred and fifty cedis in a good month.  I could earn that kind of money in a day if I lectured at Ashesi University or as an advisor to Government.  I pay Kojo his fifteen cedis and head for the cool comfort of the car.  This street hawking is tough, dangerous, illegal and perilous.  The barriers to entry are sealed with consumer loyalty and you don’t stand a chance as a new entrant.  They are a poverty cartel of friends, linked through a common survival purpose.  Don’t do as I did.  Life is very different at Informal sector level. Read the rest of this entry »

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