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    Touts Menace In Lagos Markets

    Dear Lagosians, what is the best way to stop”touts” or these “market guides” in Lagos markets from following you to where you intend to buy from?

    My first experience at Balogun market was an interesting one. I was well lectured on how to take a bus from Ikeja, I think to CMS and all that. The way the loaders were chanting those names, as if all of us are Yoruba people. I knew I wouldn’t make it. I just brought out my phone and got an Uber straight to Balogun.



    The driver dropped me at an intersection and pointed to a section and said,” that’s Mandillas, you will see the shirts there”

    Oh! That’s how my trouble started. As I stepped into the vibrant chaos of Balogun Market, a swarm of touts and market guides surrounded me. Eager to assist, they offered guidance to the best shops, claiming to have exclusive deals.

    Poor me, Unbeknownst to me, their influence extended beyond just directions. With each step, they subtly steered me toward particular stalls, where the owners had agreements with these guides. The prices quoted seemed fair, but little did I know that a percentage was being funneled back to the guides as commission.

    The labyrinth of narrow alleys became a stage for this orchestrated dance. Every shop I entered, a tout lurked nearby, ready to collect their share. Bargaining, a customary practice in the market, now took on a different dynamic as the guides discreetly communicated with the vendors to secure their cut.

    As I navigated through the maze of stalls, the subtle manipulation of prices became apparent.

    The touts skillfully convinced me that their recommended shops offered the best quality at the most reasonable prices. Unbeknownst to me, the cost included a hidden fee, lining the pockets of the guides orchestrating this economic ballet.

    At some point, I wondered, who really said things are cheaper in Lagos. A woman who sold shorts for me, said she would have sold the product at my price but not for the person I came with. I still didn’t understand.

    It wasn’t until later, reflecting on my market adventure, that I realized the dance of commerce in Balogun Market was choreographed by these seemingly helpful guides, turning every purchase into a commission-based transaction. The vibrant atmosphere of the market concealed the intricate web of negotiations and hidden fees that shaped my shopping experience.

    On my next visit, I warned all of them not to follow me, but they would not heed. I almost fought one. As I entered every shop, I announced to the shopkeeper that these touts didn’t come with me o. Dem no dey gree, they still keep following. Abeg, tag Lagos people, how una dey do am?

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