whellbarrow shoppingHaven’t you seen it before? In different colours, almost the same shape, this small hand-propelled vehicle, with usually just one wheel, designed to be pushed and guided by a single person using two handles at the rear is becoming a pop-culture; one will not be wrong to christened it ‘the mobile shop.’
The wheelbarrow, a man-made servant, has become part of human activities. One can find the wheelbarrow at construction areas, traversing all kinds of roads under all kinds of weather and scientifically made to serve humans by carrying all kinds of load is becoming a shopping spot in open markets around the capital city, FCT.
Wheelbarrow shopping is said to have been patronised by eight out of every 10 people, especially in around the suburb of the capital city.
Besides these wheelbarrow-shops, buyers and sellers meet to enjoy business; hands exchanging both money and goods relatively cheap. Anything could be sold on the wheelbarrow ranging from groceries, kitchen utensil, electronics, clothes, food….
Interesting, these wheelbarrow-shops are decorated with different colours and stylistic umbrellas serving as shades to their owners, their goods and customers. “I have been selling cloths for 8 years on wheelbarrows, and I must say it has been profitable,” Ekpe Henry regular merchant around the Nyanya market explained that he ease of movement of the wheelbarrow makes it possible to wheel them to strategic locations that can bring more profit.
Depending on the location of the market, the sellers that cannot buy their own wheelbarrow can simply rent if daily, the rent differs from N200 to N300.
Mr. Musa Zakari, who sales shoes in Karu market on wheelbarrow a explained that wheelbarrow-shopping is very interesting as one doesn’t need to rent shop to begin his/her business, just a wheelbarrow.
While customers and sellers savour the relationship that the humble wheelbarrow has brought, this business has been seen as a threat to the conventional stores.
A cosmetic seller, Binta Ahmed had this to say, “I rented my store for N200, 000 from a third party. If I had rented it from the real owner, it would have been less than N200, 000.”
Ahmed added, “These wheelbarrow merchants you see are taking our customers. Before the customers get into the main market, the wheelbarrow merchants will attracted them at the entrance, stealing our customers way.”
Whereas, Chukwudi Okeke, a retailer who sells men’s wears believes that if conventional shop owners have the reputation, customers will definitely troop in to buy. And those selling on wheelbarrow don’t have the money to rent the stores that’s why they use the wheelbarrows to ply their trade.
According to Okeke, owners of wheelbarrow-shops have considered the special N50 collected by the sanitation office, Task Force and environmental officers as their chief problem.
One customer, Chika Peter who prefers to buy goods from wheelbarrow merchants said, “I love buying goods from the wheelbarrow because they’re not as expensive as the ones sold in shops, you can easily buy things from them without going into the crowded market…” she smiled holding a blouse by a wheelbarrow-shop at Karu market.
Though not created for selling goods but to carry load, sellers are
exploring every opportunity to maximise profit, and the wheelbarrow is one.

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