The first cut is the deepest

Online shopping? Nah, it wasn’t for her. Didi thought as Jumia’s discount sales on bags, shoes, women’s fashion flashed invitingly on the right.

She was dinosaur like that. The touch, the smell, the physical effect on her senses led to a purchase. Merely viewing them did little or nothing to compel her to give money away.

Her beau once ordered a pair of well – made, hand- crafted leather slippers (online) in two distinctive designs. They were beautiful onscreen, and even more up close when they arrived. The smell of rich, brown leather and a colour on them like the coat of a thoroughbred. The only issue? They were the perfect size for their four- year old son; Didi chuckled for days.

She continued scrolling down her newsfeed. Nothing intriguing caught her eye amongst the assortment of posts by friends or family.




Facebook seemed like the Sahara. Yudala soon took over the 100% off trend on electronics and more female accessories.

Fleetingly, she paused. No harm screen- shopping. She did it all the time; then had recurring dreams about desired items much later.

Once again, nothing interesting. She resumed scrolling until…

She did need a new black tote though as her fingers slowed, and her gaze stayed on a collection of bags by an old acquaintance. She clicked on the first photo, and didn’t stop until she got to the very last one.

Online shopping? Like Blackberry, Whatsapp, Skye, etc, there was always a first time.

She made a comment beneath a particular bag in an alluring caramel shade (the seller stated it also came in ash and pink hues): Could you please post the other colours? And continued scrolling.

Two days later, the same acquaintance had uploaded a completely new array of bags. A diverse range this was with equally varied sizes, shades and appeal.

A black one, tasseled with the American flag’s colours seemed to draw her in.

Her comment read thus: I like this. How much is it?

Old Acquaintance: 6,000. Payment validates order.

Didi: How do I pay? How do I get it afterwards?

Old Acquaintance: Will inbox you the details now.

It was pretty straight forward from there. The OA provided the banking information, mentioned something about a delivery fee, and Didi transferred the total amount to the designated account.

OA acknowledged receipt and they discussed possible delivery dates. Since Didi was away for a week, it would arrive once she returned. By now, the conversation had moved from Facebook to Whatsapp.

The very next week, OA put a call to Didi and declared the colour ash as the only one available. Would Didi prefer that shade to silver?

What in the world was she talking about? Didi wondered briefly while waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Bells went off in her head then, but she couldn’t tell if they were warning or alarm bells.

She whatsapp -ed OA informing her that she had requested for a black bag and not the ash or silver variations being spoken about.

She dismissed the bells as nothing and walked into the doctor’s office as OA’s message beeped in, reassuring her a black bag would arrive at her door step in seven days.


What happens when everyone is an entrepreneur and doing business online

It did, and a total deviation from the item she ordered and paid for. It was black all right but the wrong design and fabric.

The ensuing banter between OA and her was as tedious as it was exhausting. It revealed a gross oversight on OA’s part, and the repercussions of Didi ignoring her intuition.

OA supported the delivery with screen shots of Didi’s initial comment.

Didi stated her own case with her other numerous comments, including dates for easy recall for the other lady.

But OA insisted, rather firmly too, to Didi’s exasperation.

The back and forth between them was distracting and disruptive. Often occurring in the middle of meetings Didi was sitting in on or at heightened creative phases when total concentration and zilch disturbance were essential. Beep. Beep. Beep.  WhatsApp messages from OA.

Either this lady has refractive errors or something somewhere else is wrong. Didi pondered, almost at her wits end. How come she couldn’t see the other black tote and the comments that both of them exchanged? Hadn’t she seen the dates indicated either?

Didi was more furious with herself than with OA’s blunder on the bag’s specifics. She berated herself severally. She had been warned courtesy of her gut. Why hadn’t she listened to it and maintained her prehistoric, physical store – oriented shopper lane? No, she had chosen to trust an acquaintance, 15 years removed, over it. Now here she was trading syntax, semantics and screen shots like stocks.

Finally, Didi posted photo evidence of her preferred purchase, the comments beneath it and the progression of their conversation into her Facebook inbox, before topping it up with proof of payment.

OA went silent for a while.

Didi’s dream was looking nothing like the reality she had hoped for. How was it possible that OA had completely glossed over the relevant exchange concerning her preferred bag? There were pictures, words accompanying her order. What…what had gone horribly wrong?

With most Nigerian businesses’ no return/cash back policy, Didi knew her money was gone as well as the tote she had imagined embellishing her shoulders.

OA saw the light, came out of hibernation, and duly apologized. However, the bag Didi ordered was no longer in stock.

Just like she had figured. Bag gone. Cash gone. And Didi possessed neither the strength nor time to pursue a possible exchange in the advent of new stock; an offer OA presented at the end of her remorse.

I don’t trust that you’d make an accurate item delivery, Didi didn’t respond. Instead, she declined the offer. The bag delivered, unopened and on a table in her room, would make a pleasant, surprise present for a family member or a friend of her choice.

Online shopping? Nah, it wasn’t meant for her; Didi was dinosaur like that.


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