The manicurist at the local salon is just that by day. By evening, she’s a student in Yaba Polytechnic learning IT. I walked in today after about six months and randomly ask where the manager is today. “She’s late – passed on in December after a brief illness.” Such a sad story. Her demise opened a door for this young, quiet lady to become the stand-in manager. A girl who three years ago came in to clean the floors and quietly learnt the ropes how to do a good manicure without formal training and is now holding fort as the manager. The power of attitude, the willingness to learn and open doors allowed her to get to where she is now.
There’s a great gift shop that sells children’s items and quirky fun stuff in Lekki. It was one of the first places that Wowed me for customer service. There’s this young lady,a graduate of Political science who manages the place. She knows what you are looking for and helps you get it. I love her attitude particularly because you go to so many stores where attendants ask you as you walk in, “Madam, what do you want?” Not how can we help you. And if you don’t look the part they totally ignore you. I keep going back because of the lady’s knowledge and her attitude. Her sights are however set on working in the political sphere. Her dreams are valid.
I used to love my previous hairdresser on Awolowo Road. She’s skilled and great at her job but her customer skills are non-existent. Once, I deviated from her because I was tired of the attitude and the man who re-touched my hair burnt my scalp and he couldn’t care less. About four months ago I was introduced to a new place in Victoria Island by a fellow school mum and friend. The owner is a naturalista and runs the place with her stylish mum in the backroom. She’s taught her stuff to treat people with respect and speak well. That’s my new space. A place that takes people for what they are and gives you your moneys’ worth.
The news channels have been filled with talk of South Africa and xenophobia against Nigerians. I try to explain to a friend that the cadre of jobs being fought for are not held by white collar Sandton sitting Nigerians. It is the Nigerians on Cameroon Street in Braamfontein selling tomatoes and sukumawiki, and slowly growing a business until they own their houses in Gauteng. It is the pimps in Hillbrow making money off uneducated young black girls who don’t see a future. They are doing whatever it takes to make money because there in South Africa, no one knows them. Not like Lagos where everyone is hustling but no one respects your hustle until you make it. I heard the story of a man who built a huge house in Ajah, beautiful mansion but the neighbours bad mouth him saying he does menial labour in the US. Does it matter? Doesn’t his wife wear expensive lace and live in her house with a working generator off the sweat of her husband? But no one respects the hustle.
Effort is always rewarded. Solomon speaks about wisdom in Proverbs 3, 4 and the value of it. And whatever it takes, learn to serve with a smile and value people for who they are and not the size of their wallets. Difficult lesson for today’s world.