Friday, 30 November 2012

Mind Your Language

. SpS

I had thought this would be easy to put together but its been a roller coster week for me as Christmas hustling and traffic congestion in Lagos metropolis is at its peak.

I have sat down on my desk in the last two night but never got to conclude on which on Monica's stories from the NYSC orientation camp should come first.  At least that's what I thought until this happened in my very presence today.

Many a time, especially when we travel to another state, country we get the impression that our dialect can be used to get away with any vices or tight corners as the case maybe.  One of such was the case today when I stopped by a shop to buy some provisions for the house. One look at me, would give me away as a lady from the South South of Nigeria (Ibo, Calabar, Efik) and so was the impression with these sales girls. Just because I made enquiries that offended them, they went ahead and were insulting me in Yoruba. Unknown to them, I was born, bred, even nationalise here in Lagos, so tell me, how can I not understand all the polite insult these small pikins were throwing in my direction all while saying 'aunty mi' to moi?  I ignored them until I was through with my shopping and gave a tip to one of them that never contributed to the whole show but kept quiet. They were shocked to their bones of course on hearing me speak my second language without giving myself away as from the South South of the Country (*winks).

So back to Monica's gist how some Businessman lost clients ( Corpers) as a result of his using his language to his detriment. A very vital point in business dealings I must say. She sais in the camp, they are expected to be clean always in their white Tshirts and short ( Bum shorts for some fashionistas). This meant that the washing would have to be given out to dry-cleaners in the area.  Of course, that was no problem for the smart ones who had quickly taken advantage of the resumption of the Corpers to the camp.

The price list was like this: Tshirt = N50, Short =N50,  Socks = N20, Shoes=N50

The locals made brisk business from these Corpers no bi joke.There was no time to be doing all the washing and be able to meet up with other scheduled activities at the camp. These were washed, ironed, packaged and delivered in nylons . So imagine having 100 Corpers as clients?  Wow! Even 20 was enough. There was this particular guy who happen to have a client in Monica's room, other rooted for another guy. On the day he came to deliver the washed clothes, his client wasn't around and so he was asked to drop them with another of her room mate. Instead of just dropping the clothes or objecting to and come again another time, the guy just went on insulting the client's friend in the 'dry-cleaner's local language not knowing that one of the other room mates understood every word.

That simply sealed it for him as it was not clear that no one else would now be using him. He lost all  and if not much more.

What's the morale of this? I would say never insult your client whether in English or any other language in his presence or that of this friends.  It's bad for business.

Have you had any such experience

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