I almost got ripped off in the market looking for the original and one guy wanted to beat me.

For a while, I’d always wanted to get a new battery for my PC. My current battery wouldn’t go on for very long especially when connected to WiFi and the power was out. Out of frustration, I lost all motivation to work, constantly thinking power could go off at anytime. You can never trust this power people in Nigeria.

Now, when you don’t have money, there are certain decisions you cannot be making. Such little things as “buying a new battery” becomes a long term plan or even a goal (God will punish poverty sha). I was at that point when I felt strongly about replacing the battery. From the time I had the desire to change it to when I had the cash, I had researched a lot on the battery to spot a fake from a mile away (upsides of being broke). Finally, the money came and yesterday became the perfect day to buy it. I ended up making random movements based on my gut which somehow led up to me learning and not being cheated. See the hand of God, Yes?


image credit: techpoint.ng

On Friday night, I planned to leave for computer village very early Saturday morning so I can replace the battery and have enough time to do more stuff that day. But for some weird reasons, Jordan convinced me to stay back by offering me breakfast and telling me he planned on going to Ikeja as well that morning. Now, I had free breakfast and company going to Ikeja — my day moved up a lot of levels on the awesomeness ladder. He even had a couple of movies ready to keep me going till it was time to leave. They turned out to catch my interest so much I didn’t even know when Jordan left.

As I was finishing the second movie, I had this urge to go to the market though my earlier thoughts were about how wicked the sun was at that point. Believe you me, going another day was just a better idea at that point, but I didn’t argue at all, I just respected myself and prepared to go to the market. 30–40mins later I was walking into computer village with one mission — the original battery or nothing.

I had a place in mind to go, so I wasn’t completely clueless. After entering the wrong building and realising I didn’t actually know where I thought I knew, I began looking for anywhere I can find the battery (at this point, I was actually pretty clueless). In a rare fashion and totally unlike market people when they do not have what you want, the guy I met at the shop I walked into told me flatly that they do not have the battery, but he can show me where to get it. I did not even argue as I followed him immediately after muttering an “ok”.


“Please give him battery for his laptop… ”. 15 mins later with no success, I was out of the shop and starting a long journey focused on getting back to where I had come from. As I passed a turn on the way, that urge came again to go through here and see if I’d find the original, before going down further. After 5 minutes of looking around, another guy was taking me to another shop not too far off to get the battery. We got there and it was the same thing as the last one — a fake (or replacement as they called it in the market).

There was a little twist with this guys here that could have led to them beating me up for refusing to buy. I provided them with a lot of technical reasons as well as numbers to backup why I could just not buy their battery and they did not take it very well. They murmured somethings in Igbo and throw questions at me in English (I pretended not to understand them. It makes it easy to have an edge over the seller who may not control his emotions and say stuff he feels you can’t understand — but I almost got beaten). I was being smart with a smirk at the same time feeling I could use logic on them.

The guy started shouting at me and moved a little to block the exit. The other guy was already outside, and he was not wearing smiles at all. He threatened “What if I refuse to take this thing now? You have already tested the battery”. I looked into his now red eyes and knew I was no match for this guy. But I had only one thing that could go for me… “See, I’m really sorry I cannot buy it. Believe me, if I knew you wouldn’t like me testing it, I wouldn’t have tried at all. I only tested it because you gave me permission. And there is nothing I can do if you insist I pay”.

For some miraculous reason, the guy looked defeated. He went outside and said some stuff to the other guy that I couldn’t hear. Then he came back and told me “no wahala. You can go”. I think the fact it was still bright and there is God, I walked out of that place normal. But from the way they looked at me, so many unsaid words were heard.

I left that shop feeling that sellers in Lagos markets hate it when you know your stuff. They kept saying in Igbo “What is he testing? Is it not just check if the battery is charging, eh? I don’t understand o”. This wasn’t my first encounter.

And so, I was on the search again for the original. I was passing a really big store (4 floors kind of thing with the logo of my laptop brand on it), so I felt they must have some of the original stuff in here. I asked the security man for directions to the section of the store I should go and he showed me (yep, the store is that big you probably need a map getting around). They mentioned replacement and original — you know my reply. “Ha, it is very expensive o, like N25,000” and I replied “bring it first let it work and we can start discussing the money”. When this battery came, it was the real deal. Finally, I had found it after all — the original.


“Can I pay you N15,000 for it?” I asked the guys who had brought the battery. One of them was with me while the other had gone to get the battery, so I was giving him info on why changing the battery was super important to me. Within the time it took the second guy to go get the battery and come back, I had checked up on aliexpress and seen the prices of batteries waiting to be shipped to Nigeria (I wonder why I didn’t do this earlier — hand of God maybe?). N25,000 was just too off the charts, so I knew I had to bargain. The guy had told me earlier that the battery had a fixed price and even offered to show me their price point (internal document they use in selling) so I could see he was not lying. I declined feeling it was totally wrong.

“No o, the price is N25,000 na as I told you”. I kept pushing and he cracked and said “Ok, bring N20,000”. At that point, I swore not to pay a kobo over N15,000, so I stood my ground firmly. He had lied to me earlier and tried to fool me. He just cracked a little bit now which means he could as well be lying about what he is saying now. “All I have is N15,000. Can we do that?” and the reply was “I’d give you N18,000 last”. I pushed my N15,000 position a little more and even lingered waiting for him to change his mind, but he refused (they rather). I just concluded I’d checkout aliexpress or “jejely” just buy it from Konga and have peace since I had seen it there.

So I left again, but to find it at a cheaper place . . .

I stumbled into one shop after almost deciding to go home. I asked for the battery and she said “replacement is N10,000 but follow come is N14,000”. I don’t need to tell you what I replied, but you needed to see my face when she came back. I had that “Oh… Wow… What do we have here” expression with my hands rubbing against each other. Lo and behold, before God and man, she brought the same battery those earlier guys had told me N18,000 last and presented it before me. I could not believe my eyes, but I made sure not to give away my surprise and delight. I chatted with her in a friendly way and made jokes to let her laugh. Then I proceeded to fiddle with the battery like some crazy genius trying to unravel the mystery behind it’s making — I was just buying time while gathering myself together.

Again, I had to test the battery for the second time now while pretending completely like I had never seen a battery in my life before. I was pushing the price she offered me, but she refused to buck. We were at a corner of the shop where her boss could not see us talk, so after much pressure, she finally said “I’m only selling this with N500. It is not our own but I can show you where to get the best price for this battey”. Feel like I already had Christmas in July? Well, Santa really came very early this year. She kept to her word and showed me the place, and I finally paid N13,500 for the battery —the original.

Game Over. The Original Wins. Flawless Victory — almost.

Afterthought

I think it was really selfish of the two guys who told me N25,000 originally not to sell to me at N15,000. The real owner of the product sells it at N13,5oo so they were already making money. But no, they wanted to make a killing. If I had not done my research to know the prices, I would have concluded it was fair and probably begged to pay N20,000 (the thought scares me o). They lost my money and almost denied they real guy the chance to sell.

I think it is important we keep pushing most times when we want to do stuff like this and stick to the goal. If I stopped pursuing my original, I may have bought the knock-off and gone home even more frustrated, with the extra bucks I would have saved. It would have been a very sad experience. Being broke actually paid off this time, so I’m going to enjoy every moment of the “brokeness”. And I’m definitely going with someone next time I want to pull this off. We cannot be hearing stories that touch.


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