Monday, November 30, 2009

under the kitchen thatch.

My mom taught me to see the beauty in everything.

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Up until 1992, Zambia had a mostly centrally controlled economy. While this seemed to work for a few decades after independence, the government coffers started to run dry, access to goods became more difficult; I hear stories of people needing to queue for things, store shelves which were empty, and how difficult it was even to buy an apple.

But then 1993 came; in swept Chiluba, that panacea called structural adjustments and with it came free market mechanisms. So, it’s not that long ago -- just 16 years -- that that Zambia has been learning to do business in a new way; which means that conventional market behaviours and norms are still in development in this country.

This includes product marketing. For example, sometimes, when vendors want me to buy something, their strategy is just say ‘buy it!’. When I decline, they use the seemingly universal marketing tactic – inching closer to me and raising the volume: “COME ON, JUST BUY IT! ”. (Should I admit that sometimes this works?)

So when I actually see some pretty interesting marketing strategies, I pay attention. I was rolling through Kitwe this past weekend on the bus and noticed this sign, enticing me to buy meat pies – the best, no no, the PERFECT ones around, and if I don't agree, I don't even need to pay!

I give an A for effort.