Dearth of Honor in Market Places

Apr 29 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew

I recently witnessed a fight in a grocery store where a customer and one of the staff were trying to jump at each other's throats. People stood there watching as some tried to avert the brawl. I wanted to mediate but their rage had me wanting nothing but to disappear from the scene.

The customer was loudly complaining that he refuses to be treated in a particular way when he paid to get service. I presumed the fight was about mistreatment.

While one of the employees at the store was trying to calm the situation, another salesperson came from behind, escalating the situation to the point of attempting to throw things at each other. I left the supermarket at that moment, returning a few minutes later to buy an item that was only available there. Everyone was still in shock.

I had first-hand experience with a  salesperson in the same store who was too conceited to handle customers courteously. He is nice only to someone buying more than five kilos of fruits and vegetables on the shelf.

One time he tried to replace my order since the bananas I chose were in a larger bunch and he wanted to save it for someone who would purchase the whole. I understand that sometimes bananas are too flimsy and taking a few from the cluster might break the other ones. I usually cooperate when the employees air out their concerns about the outcomes of my choice so long as they present it in a nice manner. But when it is substituted with a service refusal, I am inclined to opt out of making the purchase and find an alternative.

The customer is not king in some places. Some treat service providers like they do not matter but other times integrity while doing business is off sight.

I despise that salespeople withheld information about their product to get it off their shelves. If the product is high copy then I would want to know. I appreciate it when I am presented with the truth and know what my options are.

The other day I went to a nearby store to buy a mini stove as the old one failed to heat up quickly because of power fluctuations. I wanted something relatively affordable and got the small ones made of bricks. The salesperson gave me options for the price I was willing to pay with the assurance that it was a legit item.

I knew the stove was not going to last considering the price but I hoped to use it for a few months. I even offered to get another one that seemed better by adding a few extra Birr but the man convincingly insisted that my first choice was good enough.

It gave out in less than an hour. As it turned out the wires used were thin and the plugs cheap. The handyman I was acquainted with changed it to thick ones which were not that expensive. The manufacturer used the least-lasting materials to cut production costs. Salespeople pretend like it is a work of art to convince customers to buy phoney products, considering it a win-win but not to customers. Consumers spend double the price on maintenance alone if they make a decision to buy it in the first place.

Some sellers forget the long-term effect their untruths have on their businesses. A disappointed customer sees it as an ultimate act of betrayal and deceit and never set foot in their shop.

Being honest about the condition of the items builds trust with the customers. People appreciate it when they know exactly what they are getting out of a purchase.

Salespeople must know about the items they offer the market. Selling products for an appropriate price is the best way of convincing customers to buy. The next time customers want to make a purchase they are most likely to go to that salesperson that saved them from buying substandard products.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 29,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1200]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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