17 June 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

Uber's Lagos/Nigeria steeply degraded service quality plus my armchair recommendations

Last Thursday (today is Saturday), I took an Uber from First Bank headquarters in Marina Lagos to my mum's place, close to NYSC camp, Iyana Ipaja/Agege. The car was nice but that was the only nice thing about the entire taxi booking. Oh, I forgot the extremely cheap price of the ride (more on that later). It took over 40 minutes from booking time for the Uber which took me home to arrive. Let me tell you how this happened.

At 4:15 pm, I booked an Uber for 4:25 because I was busy registering my new GLO sim at a road-side shop in Marina. Not long after I booked the ride, some driver accepted it and I assumed he was close by and would soon be on his way to my location. Time was running fast, and because I was busy hurrying up the SIM guy so I'll be ready when the Uber arrives, I didn't bother to check the Uber's location.

It was after the SIM registration was done that I looked at the map and realised that this guy was all the way at Western Avenue in Surulere. He knew this, yet, he did not cancel for over what I would estimate to be 15 minutes. I called the Uber driver as soon as I realised his location which was about 15 minutes away. You won't imagine his response.

Uber driver: I can't come oh! I'm in Surulere; Marina is too far away from here.

Hafiz: Okay. Then cancel the ride already! **why did I even need to make this call?**

Uber driver: I can't cancel it oh! They've sent me message that I've cancelled too many rides today already

At this point, my temper rose to boiling point and I think I tried in the calmest voice I could muster to convince him to cancel the ride one last time before dropping the call. I ended the call, brought up the app and saw that he still had not cancelled the ride. Obviously, there was no point waiting for this bitch any longer. I was the one who had to travel over 30 kilometres from Lagos Island to Agege; not him.

I cancelled the ride, despite the warning that I would be charged 1000 Naira for cancelling over 5 minutes after he accepted. 1000 Naira was charged to my account instantly. I also, instantly, went to the View Trips menu, a part of the app I've become all too conversant with since Uber drastically dropped their fares early May, in response to rival, Taxify. With the drop in fares came an almost instantaneous drop in service quality. I guess when there's little incentive for the drivers to be nice, this is what you get.

I selected the freshly cancelled trip, asked for a refund and stated the reason as [driver asked me to cancel]. I wish I had known it was there all this while. I would not have wasted my time and airtime calling that fucktard to get him to cancel. As soon as I chose that option, Uber refunded my 1000 Naira without skipping a beat. How come they trust the customer so much? What if I was actually being dishonest and cancelled because [I was just testing the app o].

I requested a ride all over again and this time, it was satisfying to see that the Uber was nearby, on Broad Street. To cut the long story short, the guy took over 15 minutes to get to where I was; much longer than I expected, given his initial location. Instead of meeting me on Marina Road where I told him I was, he went to park in front of First Bank headquarters gate. Of course, the security men had started harassing him to [GO AND TURN AROUND] before I saw him. As soon as I saw him, I started begging the security men from 50 feet away with a hand gesture as I hurried towards his car. Once there, I jumped into the backseat and off we went.

It had been a stressful afternoon and I was cranky and fagged out. The people at CSCS  had kept me waiting for almost an hour just to print my stock statement of account. It was thanks to them that I was still on the freaking island at rush hour (4 pm+). Lagos rush hour traffic is top 3 on my personal most hated list.

Apart from being tired, I was also heavy. I had just downed a bowl of 200 Naira Amala and 6 pieces of beef and inu eran (cow innards) at the CocaCola amala joint (buka) opposite First Bank headquarters. I had descended heavily upon the food because it was my first meal of the day. In fact, so famished was I before the meal that I couldn't bear to spend one minute to catch up with a friend I ran into, just outside the buka.

I just collapsed into the owner's corner, turned on my Bluedio headphones and pretended that the car was driverless. The driver was not my type (not charismatic enough), so being the shitty discriminating and stereotyping human that I am, I wasn't interested in talking to him beyond the scope of the transaction. I guess the person that introduced him to Uber must have told him it's good to be nice to customers (the reviews). Because after haplessly blaring his Christian music from the car stereo, he asked me 5 minutes into the ride what I wanted on the radio. Just to say something, even though I didn't need the radio, I asked him to put it on 93.7 FM and immediately went on to wear my headphones and assume a prone position on the backseat. I was ready to take off into dreamland.

I had a good one hour nap in my Thursday evening Lagos Uber. By the time I woke up, we were at Maryland. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I sat back upright. I noticed his driving was really rough; so rough I felt carsick from the regular rocking. I put on my seatbelt to mitigate the rocking. I felt there was no point trying to talk sense into this one.

When we got to Ikeja, he told me that he still has to go to school today and that if he had known I was coming all this way, he would not have accepted the ride. I think he said earlier that he only accepted the ride because [and I don't like cancelling customers o].

I'm not sure I said much in response. What was he trying to achieve; guilt trip me? I'd lost all of my fucks for the day; sorry. I just wanted to get home after what was a stressful and marginally productive day. I must have responded lackadaisically to him, if at all.

When we were within 20 minutes of my place, he suggested that I take an Okada for the rest of the journey. This time, I totally ignored him. As in, I didn't even know I can be like that. The only other thing I could have done was to scold him for this behaviour and start an argument, but I had no energy left for that. When he saw I was mute, he went on to ask me how long till we get to my place. I told him 15 minutes, which is fairly accurate. I responded because I'm a really nice guy at my core.

He rode on the regained attention to talk more about his plight and how he would never have come here, had he known the traffic was this much. He would later apologise for saying this, a couple of times. But as they say, words cannot be unsaid.

Perhaps, to rouse some empathy in me for him, he told me how he had missed school last week and how because of this [cursed] trip, he was on the verge of repeating the same thing this week. I looked at him and I could relate to his efforts towards making a better life for himself (shit; you won't believe that I never looked at this man's face directly for even one second of this trip? I don't know what he looks like in real life).

I showed my empathy, not by asking him to drop me here, but by saying: "I hope you find a passenger on your way out of my place". I was done struggling for the day and that meant that I had absolutely no will to come down from my comfy position in this ride till I reached my destination.

Give or take, 15 minutes later, the Uber arrived right in front of my house. For most of the last 30 minutes of the trip, I had to endure this man's hissing, ranting to himself about how he'd made a mistake accepting this trip, and apologising to me about what he had said about accepting this trip. But I honestly could not care less, as long as I got home safe and sound.

And get home, I did. He ended the trip right in front of my house. I thanked him as I slowly stepped out of the silver Hyundai Elantra, looking back on my seat to ensure I wasn't leaving anything of value behind. I felt a huge wave of relief to be home at last. What a horrible experience to have just one day before leaving Lagos. Fuck you, Lagos city!

Little did I know my troubles for the day were not over yet.

Overcharged by Uber

After I settled in at home, I checked on the email receipt and was shocked to see a bill of 5450 Naira. Okay, the ride had been extra long (150 minutes) and the distance was over 30 kilometres. Those factors notwithstanding, even when Uber was still Uber (more expensive but of much better service standards), the ride would still not have been this costly. Haba! When I saw that the distance travelled on the receipt was 81km, I was sure there was definitely a problem here.

I quickly logged on to Uber website and reviewed the trip. The GPS route was totally incongruent as I'd suspected. It was all over the place, drawing routes in the middle of the ocean where no car dares venture. For a moment, I feared that the driver might have taken me on merry-go-rounds while I was fast asleep. Silly me; inside this Lagos? There was no way we would have gotten home within 150 minutes during rush hour if he had actually driven through 81 kilometres as the map stated. Time to get my money back!

I filed a complaint about the charge. Within three hours, an Uber representative had responded. I like how Uber acts very fast and is always more biased towards the customer than the driver in their judgements. My fare was reviewed (based on estimates) down to 2150 Naira (a whopping 3300 Naira discount).

My Uber fare was drastically reduced due to a GPS issue
My Uber fare was drastically reduced due to a GPS issue

Jesus wept! And I wept. I wept for my driver called Abodunrin because he truly suffered for me beyond getting this meagre payout.I would happily have paid him up to 3500 for all of the trouble he went through for me this unfortunate evening.

For the next few minutes after seeing this email, I could not help but feel sorry for this man. Because I knew he must have seen the initial fare and praised God, only to later open up his phone to see that he had lost over 3000 Naira to a dispute which this ungrateful customer right here, won and which he (the driver) had no say in?

Next, I tried to calculate how much he'd take home out of this 2150 Naira.
  • Uber takes one-fifth of the money which brings it down to 1720 Naira. 
  • He probably spent about three litres of fuel on this trip (we're down to 1285 Naira with at 145 Naira per litre)
  • I will assume that the rest is split halfway between him and the car owner. That leaves our hapless Uber driver, Abodunrin with approximately 600 Naira (less than $2) for a 2-hour, 30-minute trip. For comparison, a month ago, I took an Uber for 5 minutes in Salt Lake City and was charged $6 (approximately the same price in Naira as this trip at current exchange rates). Chaieh, o ja mi lara jeh.

A 5-minute Salt Lake City Uber cost me the same as a 150-minute Lagos, Nigeria Uber :'(

Wherever you are Abodunrin, I feel so sorry for what happened last Thursday. You literally worked for nothing. Of course, I have the option of calling you to send me your account number so I can transfer some money to you. But no, I'll pass. No comments.

So, in this scenario, I'd say Uber won, I came second and the driver and car owner definitely lost. The operators are set up to always lose with the current fare setup. I have some armchair consultant recommendations for Uber. I think they should consider them to make the Uber Lagos experience better for everyone that has been negatively impacted by the recent competition-motivated fare reduction. After all, the Taxify whom you people want to nip in the bud has now reviewed their fare reduction upwards.

An armchair consultant's recommendations for Uber Nigeria

  • Allow drivers see passenger location before accepting the ride This would reduce the number of incidences of ride cancellation by drivers. I cannot count how many freaking minutes of my life have been wasted in the past few weeks due to having my ride cancelled by Uber drivers a little too late. The worst of them won't even do anything. They'll just accept the ride and wait at the same location on the map endlessly, until you call them after noticing 5 to 10 minutes after, that the car is stationary.
  • Allow drivers see passenger destination once the ride is accepted so they can cancel quickly When I realised that Uber drivers are blind to my destination until the start of the ride, I was really shocked. It might make sense in other climes but I don't think this works for Lagos or Nigeria as a whole. Why should you coerce someone to take a trip that they believe does not work for them, in the name of reducing discrimination? If someone feels coerced into making a trip, their resultant disgruntlement is definitely going to affect customer service negatively. I believe that within a decent time frame, one would actually find a driver who actually wants to go in each passenger's direction. For the ones living in Sango Otta and working in Ajah, well, take Kabukabu. The baba with a dilapidated Kabukabu also has to eat. Kumbaya, kumbaya.
  • Don't penalise drivers for cancelling within five minutes of accepting a ride, or for declining a ride request
  • Penalise drivers and reward customers for rides cancelled by the driver later than 5 minutes from acceptance time
  • Please do market research and settle on a more optimal price for Lagos You're not helping the customer by making them suffer before finding a driver, putting them through poor disgruntled service (it's only logical that only the low-quality people would stick around with the meagre rewards of operating an Uber after the hefty price drop of May. I mean, just look at my experience up there. I'm happy that the ride did not cost me much, but that's where my happiness ends. Everything else about that ride was shit), and making them feel guilty after a ride for taking advantage of a poor driver who must not have much of a choice to still be on Uber.
Phew. This was longer than I expected. Peace out!
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12 June 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

Bicycling in Salt Lake City with GreenBike - Salt Lake City's BCycle chapter

This article is part of my Lagos, Nigeria to Salt Lake City (SLC after this point), Utah, US series. Here's a list of all articles in my Lagos to Salt Lake City series. I promise you'll love every bit of it.

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I woke up to the voice of Michael, my roommate at the Crystal Inn hotel at about 2 am Tuesday. He was communicating with his colleagues in Lagos where it was 9 am at the time; you know getting some work stuff tidied up.

After some ten minutes of trying to go back to sleep, I gave up. My feet hit the ground, I threw on my GAP NYC hoodie and the new pair of sweatpants I bought from the nearby Walmart on Monday evening. Just before stepping out, I informed Michael I was going out to look around.

I spent some thirty minutes exploring the hitherto unexplored parts of the hotel. In this time, I discovered the gym, the sauna, the spa pool and the swimming pool; the hotel's full suite of recreational facility. Once I had had my fill of wandering the classically styled hotel interior, I decided to venture into the yonder. 

The yonder had had me for barely five minutes when I realized things were too cold for comfort. I had covered just about 300 feet along the footpath by the 500-South road in front of the hotel. So hard did the cold hit me that I had to run back all the way to the hotel. I could definitely do with a little more clothing if I was going to explore the area this time of the day.

Dressed up for a cold midnight walk in downtown, Salt Lake City
Dressed up for a cold midnight walk in downtown, Salt Lake City
Back in my room, I threw on my woolen head-warmer, woolen gloves and ditched my flip flops for socks and sneakers. This time I was definitely prepared for the worst the midnight chill had to give. I placed my Bluedio headphones above my head-warmer, turned on the music and hit the road one more time. On my way out, I literally ran into an old lady in the hotel reception who was having a discussion with the reception staff. She turned around to look at me, and once face-to-face with me, she said just one thing: "You look nice"! I was flattered and replied with a wide grin and "thanks".

Discovering GreenBike

Not many other people were on the roads apart from me. Oh, on my walk I noticed a diner which is just right beside Crystal Inn hotel. I could see into the diner and I swear, with the number of people in there, you wouldn't believe it was 3 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. 

I walked more or less aimlessly, making turns based on purely instinctual triggers, regulated by good judgement that I had not taken too many turns to lose my sense of direction. On my walk, I passed by the Marriot Hotel and some place called "Janitor's closet". I could not figure out what kind of business is done at the "Janitor's closet".


Picture from a cold midnight walk in downtown Salt Lake City
Picture from a cold midnight walk in downtown Salt Lake City

After going full circle around the block on the opposite side of the road as Crystal Inn hotel, it was almost time for me to end my walk. At this point, I took the time out to check out a nearby (to the hotel) bike shop which I had noticed on our way back from Walmart the previous evening. Of course, it was closed (4 a.m.). Nonetheless, I went closer and looked in through the glass to see what they had. In my mind, I was definitely going to return to patronize the bike shop later in the day. But fate had another plan.

I was standing at the pedestrian light closest to the bike shop, waiting for the walk signal when I noticed an array of green bicycles, stacked side-by-side on the other side of the road. Immediately, I remembered that yesterday when I'd mentioned my interest in biking to our hosts, Matt (host team member) had mentioned GreenBike. So this was it!

Becoming a GreenBike member

On walk, I crossed over to the other side of the road and walked the few feet to the front of Sheraton Salt Lake City hotel where the bike station stood. The station holds about 20 electronic bike docking stands. Each stand locks one bike in place and is connected to the central computer which has a touch-screen GUI (graphical user interface).

The GreenBike station at Sheraton Salt Lake City
The GreenBike station in-front-of Sheraton Salt Lake City

Through the central computer's GUI, I found that one can:
  • register as a new member of GreenBike
  • checkout a bike as an existing member of GreenBike and
  • checkout a bike as an existing member of BCycle in another city. BCycle is the company behind the bike-sharing technology used in several cities across the world. GreenBike is the Salt Lake City episode of the BCycle network
I started to register as a new member but after selecting the $7 for 24 hours plan, I realized that I needed a credit card to finalize the subscription. I did not have my card on me, so I had to walk the few hundred feet back to my hotel to get it.

Salt Lake City GreenBike central computer
Sheraton Salt Lake City GreenBike station central computer

Fortunately, I decided to check out GreenBike online after getting my debit card from my second floor room (first floor in Nigeria). I used the free cybercafe at the hotel lobby to access the website and discovered a more affordable $15 for 4 days (24 hours a day) plan which was not on the station computer. I quickly paid for the plan. Here, I also found out that the bike must be checked in every thirty minutes to avoid extra charges ($5 per additional hour after thirty minutes from check-in time).

Checking out my first GreenBike

My walk from Crystal Inn Hotel to Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel
My walk from Crystal Inn Hotel to Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel

By the time I set out to check out my first bike, it was dawn already. After covering the short distance between my Crystal Inn hotel and the Sheraton hotel whose front hosts the GreenBike station, I proceeded to check out my bike of choice. The process is easy-as-pie and is outlined thus:
  • Make your pick from the bikes available at the station
  • Make a mental note of the number pasted on the side of the bicycle's dock. You will need to enter this into the station's central computer shortly

Lucky Bike 20 at Sheraton Salt Lake City GreenBike station
Lucky Bike 20 at Sheraton Salt Lake City GreenBike station
  • Proceed to the central computer and select "Check out Bike (as existing member)"
  • Select "Credit card" check-out option. There's the option to check out bike via code sent by SMS to your registration phone number. This didn't work for me; neither did it for Rusty from this post. So, I would just assume that the SMS checkout feature is buggy.
  • Insert your registration "credit card" (my card was a debit card) into the station computer as prompted; head first. The head is the left side of the card; or the side from which you start reading information printed on the front of the card
  • Remove it after a couple of seconds. This was the least intuitive step for me though. Because there's no instruction to remove your card after a few seconds. The screen just remains with the same "insert card" instruction, until you remove the credit card. Coming from an ATM/POS usage background, I didn't think I'd be expected to intuitively take a step without the computer instructing me to. I guess it's probably intuitive for the Americans, since they're used to swiping
  • If your card was read successfully (I got "Card read error" quite a number of times), you'll be asked to select a bike from the available bikes. The available bikes are represented as blue circles with the number written in white within the circle. The empty docking stands have red circles. Select a bike by tapping the previously memorized number on the screen
  • Your choice bike will be released within two seconds of selecting the number. The computer instructs you that your bike is ready and begins a 30-second countdown for you to remove your bike from its dock. To aid you with locating your bike in the array of 20 docks, there would be a flashing white light on top of your docking stand. Walk to the dock and pull your GreenBike out of it
You are now ready to take on your inaugural GreenBike ride.

My first GreenBike ride

Well. It should go unsaid that after checking out my first bike, I went on my first bicycle ride in downtown Salt Lake City. It was short, since I was overly concerned about not missing the 30-minute single checkout limit. The other things I recall from the first ride are as follows:
  • I.... almost got hit by a car due to my inability to interpret one particularly confusing traffic instruction correctly. However, I made sure not to repeat that mistake because later that day, I asked Stan (the chief host) to clarify the instruction to me while beside him in his jeep, en route the Lucky 13 bar and grill

Final thoughts

Even though I wish this was a thing in Lagos, I don't see how it can work due to the following reasons:
  • Badly configured roads with little consideration for non-automobile road users. Examples of consideration for other road users which Lagos sorely lacks are:
    • bike lanes, 
    • pedestrian crossing lights, 
    • biking laws (Salt Lake city has bicycle laws which I took my time to read carefully after my first ride), 
    • ubiquitous footpaths. Riding a bicycle on any Lagos road that is not a dirt road is unfortunately, a death wish.
  • Crazy, unruly and inconsiderate drivers
  • Huge potential for the stations to be constantly plundered by vandals
A summary of my GreenBike powered trips around downtown Salt Lake City
A summary of my GreenBike powered trips around downtown Salt Lake City
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27 May 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

Getting set for the Salt Lake City trip one day before take off

This article is part of my Lagos, Nigeria to Salt Lake City (SLC after this point), Utah, US series. Here's a list of all articles in my Lagos to Salt Lake City series. I promise you'll love every bit of it.

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I did not start preparing for the Salt Lake city trip until two days before departure (Thursday). The previous weekend which was the ideal time to have gotten myself together, I had to travel out of Lagos. I felt like such a mess since I had so much to do in very little time. I'd just confirmed a day before (Wednesday) from a member of my trip group that I would need winter clothing for the low temperatures in SLC. Meanwhile, winter had been over for up to two months already.

I scanned my memory for anyone who could have winter clothing I could borrow and came up with a few names. However, by the end of that Thursday, there was no luck with any of my leads. I had to buy a jacket the next day unfailingly, or risk getting a chill upon arrival in SLC at 11pm.

From the temperature history I'd seen on Google, the night temperature could be as much as 5 degrees Celsius lower than the day temperature. The minimum night temperature I saw was 12 degrees Celsius. Of course that was scary. Considering that the 18 degree AC in my office is sometimes a little too much to handle for me.

My online search for winter jackets at the start of the week had led me to a guy, Kenneth. Kenneth had several listings for winter jackets and other winter clothing on Jiji and some other Nigerian product listing sites. He was definitely the go-to guy now since I had no other option in sight.

The next day (Friday), I left work at 2 p.m. so I could catch up on lost preparation time. On the bright side, I already had my finances settled at this time. My dollar debit card was enabled for magnetic stripe transactions in the US and loaded with $600. I also had $300 cash at hand. It was honestly not as stressful as I'd imagined to get financially set. My Fidelity dollar debit card was issued in a matter of minutes and my personal travel allowance was also processed in under thirty minutes, as soon as I presented all of my travel documents. Naira:Dollar rate at this time was 360:1.

I met Kenneth at the Yaba market on Friday evening after a phone call to his Jiji listing number. He took me straight to a shop where he and his cohorts immediately proceeded to bombard me with choices, pulling out one fairly-used jacket after the other for my assessment.

After going through six different jackets, I finally settled with a blue jacket (5000 Naira) that was to my taste. I also picked up a black pair of gloves and a grey head-warmer (1000 Naira each). If I had yielded to the pressure from these talented Igbo salesmen, I would also have purchased an extra jacket and a muffler which I definitely wouldn't have needed.

Back at home, I washed the head-warmer and gloves and spread them in-front-of my rechargeable standing fan to dry. The sun was down already and I didn't have time to spread them out next day since I had to be at the airport for 11:00. Of course, I'd have washed the jacket too if I had time on my hands because I'd rather do without that smell characteristic of imported fairly-used clothes.

Next, I gathered all the stuff I was gonna take with me on the trip and put them into two large plastic bags. I was gonna have to head to Mum's place early next morning to get her luggage bag, so my luggage could be more compact and secure.

Once I was set luggage-wise, I felt a genuine sense of satisfaction. By now, it was 8 pm and there wasn't much I had left to do for the day. I decided to go hangout at nearby UNILAG for a while before going to bed. I also invited my younger sister, Sayo who lives nearby to come with me. This would be our first hangout in ages, even though we live within 5 kilometers of each other. If I suck at keeping in touch, then she's twice as bad, so this is not that much of a big deal.

When I asked her to "come with me for a hangout at UNILAG" over the phone, she said, "thank you". Clearly, this initiative was one she was happy about and thankful for. I probably rescued her from a boring Friday night. The kind where you're stuck in hot-humid darkness while nursing imaginations of how much TGIF fun everyone else is having.

After giving her a first-time tour of UNILAG's scenic, but ominously dark, deserted and crab-infested (this spooked her out) lagoon front, we settled to a snack of Suya and cold Zobo in my car. The night weather was cool. Also, it was pretty quiet where I parked close to the campus back gate; the school was on vacation at the time. I don't think there's many other better ways I could have spent that night.

Before going to bed, I ensured all my travel documents were in one envelope. Then I placed the envelope securely in my carry-on postman bag. The ill luck of forgetting my international passport on the day of my US visa interview was not gonna befall me one more time.There wasn't that much preparation to do after all. I had only one week to spend in the US anyway. One week! ** tears **
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21 May 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

A healthy, altruistic Sunday evening walk turned dangerous in Onike Yaba Lagos

I feel lucky to be back home this Sunday evening with no harm done to me and with all my possessions intact. And I'm starting to seriously consider enrolling in some self-defense training because I know I might not be as lucky as I was today in future.

Whenever someone in my network gets attacked by robbers, I always feel fortunate about the fact that I've never been assaulted in all my time in Lagos, let alone robbed. The worst nuisance I had experienced on Lagos roads was obstinate beggars and maybe, nasty bus conductors. Other than that, I've been okay. Alas, fate decided that today was to be the end of my lucky streak.

Around 6 pm, I stepped out of the house where I'd been all day to have my first meal of the day. My destination was White House buka at Sabo, Yaba. I boarded an Okada whose route to Sabo went through the Onike area of Yaba. During this Okada journey, I made brief eye contact with one peculiar character. He's a raggedy old man who hawks mopsticks around the Onike-Sabo-Alagomeji area of Yaba.

The first time I noticed him in the area was some two years ago when I lived and worked in Yaba. Seeing him every single day on the way to/back from work, doing the same apparently fruitless activity in his old age touched me deeply. So deeply that I actually considered eking out some living space for him in my then en-suite room. In the end, though, my kindness did not make it beyond my heart. Despite the persistent urge to do so, I failed to reach out to the man until I moved out of Yaba after quitting my job.

Today, over two years later, he's still in the same 'trade'; same apparently unrewarding trade. From the look of things, the trade has not improved his life to any degree. Quite poignant, if you ask me (watch this video on my favourite YouTube channel to learn how to pronounce the word, "poignant").

We made eye contact in the brief moment that my Okada stopped just in front of him for traffic. I fumbled through the right pocket of my shorts for the 100 Naira notes the Okada man had given me for change. But before I found them, it was time to move. However, I made up my mind that I was going to have my first interaction with this old man today.


Approaching the old mopstick selling man after lunch at White House
Approaching the old mopstick selling man after lunch at White House

After downing my jollof rice, meat and water at White House, I retraced my steps back to the Birrel avenue junction where the old man sat behind the barracks fence (blue dot in above image). I walked up to him and as soon as I was close enough, I asked him how many mopsticks he had sold today. He sprung up excitedly from his seating position, regarding me as Oga (or something of the sort).

I guess he didn't get my question even after I repeated it two more times. Because he went on to tell me the price of the two categories of mopsticks he carries: 500 Naira for the small one and 700 Naira for the big one. I asked him to show me the small one and the big one for conversation's sake. He pointed them out to me in his stack of about a dozen mopsticks + broomsticks. I failed to see any significant difference though; maybe because I wasn't paying attention. I handed him two of the three 100 Naira notes I had on me and continued on my way towards my house. Of course, the old man was very thankful for my kindness.

Setting out of White House, I had planned to join a bus going to Abule Ijesha (nearest bus-stop to my house) once I was done with the old man. But it required me to walk backwards again to get to Sabo, the bus park. Since I had ample energy in me and a bit of free time on my hands, I took on the task of completing the approximately 2-kilometre distance back home on foot.

I was midway on Barikisu Iyede street when this scrawny looking young man with dreads called me from the other side of the road. He seemed to be greeting me like someone I knew. After a quick scan, however, I concluded that I had never met him. Nonetheless, I responded and waved back at him. This seemed to have excited him, judging from his body language, as he beckoned me to wait for him while he prepared to cross the road over to my side. I kept walking.

Before long, he was beside me on the edge of the road. He stopped me with a call and I obliged; I turned to face him, not wary of any danger. I thought worst case, he wants to share a pity story and ride on the back to ask for alms. As soon as we were face-to-face, I said, "How may I help you"? The rest of the conversation between us ensued as follows:

Him: "Bros, I'm just greeting you now".

Me: "Ok, that's fine. I already answered you now. Is there anything else I can do for you"?

He moves closer, touches my bare shoulder (I was wearing a tank top) a couple of times in an overly friendly gesture. This makes me feel very uncomfortable so I take two steps back, telling him with a straight face and stern voice: "Hey! Don't touch me. You don't know me"!

Him: "Bros. You be my guy o. Na why I say make I tell you say next time, make you no wear this kind colour again".

For a second, I look down at my tank top to confirm it wasn't camo or any other conspicuous colour associated with some occult group. It wasn't, so I was really confused at this point. Just when I was going to reply him, perhaps to ask for clarification, I saw in my peripheral vision, another young man cross over from the other side of the road to join us.

As soon as he was on our side of the road, the first thing he said was, ""Bros. How far! Do you know who I am"? At this point, I was sure this pair of guys were hoodlums and were up to no good. They'd had my attention for an entire minute and not said anything of import. Without as much as another word, I made an about turn and continued on my way home, in my regular brisk but confident pace. I definitely was not going to let this little threat rid me of my confidence. A quick look over my right shoulder a few seconds after let me know that I was being followed.

A map of Barikisu Iyede street, adjoining University road
A map of Barikisu Iyede street, adjoining University road

I'd say the malicious pair followed me for about 4 minutes before branching off the long stretch of road that Barikisu Iyede is. My hope was in getting to the police truck which is usually stationed on University road, just by the end of this street. During my walk, I was busy imagining how painful a stab wound could be and wondering if I'd still be able to defend myself after such an injury.

I was close to the NSPRI guest house (see the green spot in above map) when I looked back over my shoulders after about two minutes of ignoring the guys. I noticed the pair had disappeared from behind me. A second later, I saw them in the distance (see two red dots in above image), just as they were disappearing into Adesina street. Fantastic I thought, I got them off my back. A wave of relief hit me.

Any recommendations for effective self-defense training, so my heart rate won't go as high as it did yesterday due to my biology preparing me for the worst outcome? I'd be happy to hear from you.
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Hafiz Adewuyi

Lagos Nigeria to Salt Lake City Utah travel series

This is a list of all the posts in the subject series. Each post details one interesting bit of my one week trip to Salt Lake City in May 2017.

Salt Lake City, Utah, US seal
Salt Lake City, Utah, US seal

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Getting set for the Salt Lake City trip one day before take off (Friday)

Takeoff from Lagos to first layover, Doha Qatar with Qatar Airways (Saturday)

Arrival in the US and in Salt Lake City at almost midnight (Sunday)

First full day in Salt Lake City; this is gonna be awesome (Monday)

Lunch at Pat's Barbeque; too much meat! (Monday)

Discovering Salt Lake City BCycle Chapter - GreenBike (Tuesday)

Lunch at Lucky 13 Bar and Grill; Utah's best hamburger (Tuesday)

Shopping on Amazon (Tuesday)

An adventurous, almost tragic evening at City Creek, Salt Lake City, Utah (Tuesday)

Best Lunch Ever: Endless meat galore at Rodizio Brazilian grill, Trolley Square (Wednesday)

Google Fiber office in Salt Lake City; super-speed internet, virtual reality (Wednesday)

Shopping day: Park City outlet stores, Walmart embarrassment (Thursday)

Snowy mountains at Snowbird Ski Resort, TGIF night out at Gracies (Friday)

How to beg: Charismatic homeless people in Salt Lake City (Saturday)

Desperate journey to a faraway club and my first/only Uber ride back (Saturday)

Time to say goodbye (Sunday)

The 14-hour layover at Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar ( Monday)

Welcome back; Murtala Muhammed International Airport! (Tuesday)

Lagos to Salt Lake City; grand summary
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Hafiz Adewuyi

An adventurous, almost tragic evening at City Creek, Salt Lake City, Utah

This article is part of my Lagos, Nigeria to Salt Lake City (SLC after this point), Utah, US series. Here's a list of all articles in my Lagos to Salt Lake City series. I promise you'll love every bit of it.

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Choreographing fountain at City Creek mall, Salt Lake City
Choreographing fountain at City Creek mall, Salt Lake City

After the day's activities on my second full day in SLC, I and my group headed for the Temple square and City creek mall. We hopped on the train at the Ballpark train (UTA Trax) station for free, even though we later found out that we were not in the free-zone and were expected to pay for the ride.

Oh well. Somehow, that knowledge didn't prompt me to stop my illicit free rides in SLC. I mean, they hardly ever check tickets. You're somehow expected for respect yourself and pay your fare before hopping on. Cute. Before you judge me, a train ticket in one direction, irrespective of your stop is $2.50. Oya, multiply it by 400 and go ahead to judge me for fare evasion. Meanwhile, that's like the cheapest means of transport.

Temple Square
Our first stop once we alighted the train was the Mormon (Church of the Latter Day Saints) Temple square. Here, after looking around for what was a little too long for me, a pair of Mormon sisters (each from a country where English is not widely spoken) took us on a tour around the magnificent temple square. We visited three different places one of which is the temple and another, the Tabernacle. The temple is the most sacred building in the complex.

We were taken into the tabernacle in which everything is allegedly made of wood because the builders were very poor. Getting admitted into the Mormon temple, however, requires a bit of an elaborate process, the most important step of which requires you to answer the question: "Do you think you're worthy to go into this temple"?

Lest I forget, I must mention a couple of notable thing about the Temple square. The attendants at the facility are all young ladies. Second, all the ladies were extremely friendly. Virtually all of the attendants whom I passed by approached me with a smile, introduced themselves and followed with the question: "Where are you from"? It was truly heart-warming to be treated so well by so many people. God bless the sisters at the Mormon temple square, Salt Lake City.


City Creek
Once out of the temple square, we all proceeded to the City Creek mall, which as the name implies is a shopping mall which is built over a naturally occurring creek. Creeks are naturally occurring, right?

Customer service island at City Creek mall, Salt Lake City
Customer service island at City Creek mall, Salt Lake City

The stores in this mall are high-class labels like Nordstrom and Macy's. Google, Microsoft and Apple are also well represented in the store. After a few minutes zombieing around with the group, I got weary of window shopping. Lucky enough, while we were all trudging along the first floor of the mall, I spotted a green bike stand very close to the mall. My heart leapt with joy. I knew at this point that I was gonna part from the group.


Parting from the group
It was not long before I dropped the bomb on my group about my desire to go off on my own. We quickly decided it was wise if we all agreed on a time to re-convene after splitting. I remember the group leader asking if I was sure that 30 minutes would do me for my bikexploration. "Definitely", I replied! Little did I know what fate had in store for me.

Feeling free as a bird, I traced my steps away from the group towards the ground floor. After about five minutes of stumbling around (I suck at navigation) the large mall, I found my way to the GreenBike station. Yaas!


Meeting Rusty And Megan
I brought out my Fidelity debit card from my grey fabric postman bag and used it to check out my choice bike from the station. While dragging the bike out of its lock, a young man and lady reached the station and before long, I could tell they were here to check out bikes as well. I waited for the guy to check out bikes for each of himself and the lady. Then from a safe distance, I said hello. The lady responded first; she was closer to me.

I went ahead to ask if they were biking for transport or for leisure and to my delight, it was for leisure. I told them I would like to tag along and after a few knowing glances at each other, they welcomed me to join them with an "ok". Yaas! Here I was, about to tick off the, "Explore Salt Lake City with locals on a bicycle" box, even though it never existed.

Off we went. The guy, Rusty led the way while we discussed a lot of things first of which was me answering the question, "where are you from"? I went on to find out the basic things about both Rusty and his lady friend, Megan (I never asked if they're in a relationship). Rusty is a final year Computer Engineering student at the nearby University of Utah and is a true local of Salt Lake City, having been there for most of his life. Megan, on the other hand, is not from Salt Lake City. She had come there for school and now, also works there.

I was loving this, you know, this unexpected date with two oyinbo people with whom I could relate easily. It was really exciting and just then, I remembered I had only thirty minutes to do this. I decided at that point not to let that cut my time with Rusty and Megan short. My plan was to make it back in time to the mall to inform my group of my intention to be away for a little longer than we'd agreed. I made this plan known to my new friends and they agreed to come with me. Cool!


Then tragedy struck
Our trio's bicycle ride came to a stop at one intersection where we were approached by a homeless girl. She offered to draw a portrait of Rusty and Megan using a pen on a paper, for some bucks. "It won't take more than ten minutes", she said. My new friends agreed and went on to take their positions on the sidewalk while the girl artist went to work. I took the time out to go check in my bicycle at the nearby GreenBike station (my subscription required a check-in every thirty minutes).

Once checked-in, I decided to check it out immediately so we could continue our trip once the artist was done with my friends. That was when I realised (after searching profusely through all of my clothing and bag) that my debit card (which had over $500 in it) was lost. To get a sense of how terrified I felt upon realising this, you should know that all you need do to use a payment card in the US is swipe it through a POS. No PIN authentication on most machines! Worse still, the only way for me to check out any bicycle on the GreenBike network was to use my card, which I had used to buy the subscription (online).


Finding it
I rushed back to the corner where my new friends sat on their bikes, being sketched in all of their youthful glory. With a forced smile on my face, I broke the news, eliciting an expression of sympathy from them. Then Rusty asked when I last saw the card. I told him I'd used it to check out the bike from the bike station by the City Creek mall. He then suggested that we retrace our steps through the same path we rode through to get here. "Awesome", I said, even though I had very little hope of ever seeing my loaded card again.

I waited a couple more minutes for the transaction between them and the artist to be completed. Rusty collected the paper with both sketches and after a momentary observation, he mentioned to Megan how he thought the sketches were nice. I was too flustered to take a careful look at the drawing but it looked tacky to me from my vantage. Trust me not to have mentioned that.

All three of us set off back in the direction from which we came. I let them know I was terrible with navigation and that I was fully reliant on them to take me back through the exact path we'd come. I offered to jog with them while they each slow-rode their bikes so they wouldn't have to drag their bikes all the way. After about 5 minutes of doing this and no luck, I got the idea to hotlist (block) my card. Worst case scenario, I don't find it and whoever lays their hands on it cannot use it for anything. Best case, I find it and call my team back in Lagos to help unblock it quickly.

My Fidelity Bank Dollar Debit Mastercard Card
My Fidelity Bank Dollar Debit Mastercard Card

Fortunately enough, Fidelity USSD banking *770# (my baby) works for free anywhere in the world with no internet connection (no roaming charges). So I dialled that card hotlisting short-code (*770*911#). I was not so sure it would list my dollar card, so I was excited when I saw the card number in the list of cards I could block. I quickly selected the card and entered my PIN to authenticate.

To my utter dismay, the status message was the very familiar "Service Provider Failure" which I had constructed with my own hands. I knew immediately why this happened because the causative bug came to my notice just a few days before I left Lagos.

No sooner had I seen this message than I heard in Rusty's voice, "there it is". That snapped me right out of my thoughts of how I was having a taste of my own bad medicine. I looked up from my phone and lying right ahead of me, near the top of the only flight of stairs which we'd gone through was my Fidelity dollar debit card in all its glorious colors. Rusty had asked earlier what the colour of the card was, probably why he was able to spot it first while I was distracted.

I totally wanted to give someone a hug at this moment. And I was touched at the core of my heart by the kindness and support that Rusty and Megan had given to me, a stranger who they'd known for less than an hour. Without them, there was an infinitesimal chance that I'd have ever found my lost debit card.


The Adventurous Radical

I picked it up, placed it securely in my postman bag and continued towards the mall with my friends (they opted to continue with me), full of thanks for how kind they had been. It occurred to me how it already was almost an hour after I first split-off from my group. I mentioned to my new friends how everyone is probably furious with me right now for keeping them waiting. To make matters worse, one member of the group kept her wallet in my bag and so, was pretty much shopping-handicapped while I was away.

Five minutes later, I reunited with my group. As I'd anticipated, they were all furious with me for keeping them waiting for so long. I apologised repeatedly; though I was careful to keep the story of the temporal loss of my card from them. No. I could not show any signs of not being able to take care of myself with what I was about to say.

I'm sure they could not see it coming before I dropped the bomb on them. "I want to stay back and do some more cycling around with my new friends", I said. I quickly followed with an, "I'll be okay", feigning a reassuring smile. No one argued with me, even though their unanimous dissent with my decision to stay out late alone in a city I had been in for only two days was palpable. Almost 8 pm.

It didn't help that earlier in the day, the group leader had shared a story of how a Congolese (African) guy had been shot dead by cops in the area, the last time he (group leader) was in Salt Lake City. He had mentioned though, that it was a drug-trafficking issue, so I was not really bothered, knowing it was not a purely racist shooting.


Finding my way back home
I reunited with Rusty and Megan and we went on to cycle the City Creek mall environs for the next 45 minutes before calling it a day. During this phase of cycling, we stopped by a TV studio with see-through walls on the ground floor of a building. A small group of people had gathered to watch a TV news recording in real life through the transparent glass. It was something being behind the camera of a live news session and seeing the text stream along the teleprompter.

I wasn't sure how I was going to get back to my hotel but I wasn't that bothered. After saying our goodbyes, Rusty pointed me to the nearby train station, seeing as I was headed in the wrong direction. I walked onto the waiting platform and noticed there were only thirty minutes left for the trains to halt operation for the day.

There are 3 train lines that run through the Salt Lake city: Red, Green and Blue. I remember we had taken the blue line from our hotel area to the Mormon temple area. So, I waited for the blue train going in the opposite direction (as my group came in) to arrive at the station. That took about ten minutes. Next, I had to determine where to stop. To do this, I had to remember the number of stops done by the train which had brought us in earlier in the day. I settled at 3.

When I alighted at the third stop, I looked around and nothing looked familiar. The area was totally residential, with low lights and no one in sight. After wandering for a few minutes, I figured I must have counted the stops wrong. So I walked back to the nearby train station and waited for the next train that was going back in the opposite direction. I allowed this train take me two stops backwards. Still, nothing in the area looked familiar.

Night temperature was about five degrees below day temperature (which is quite cool). Hence, at this point, my palm needed a bit of warming love. Also, I was tired both in body and spirit as my despair was growing. I walked somberly to the seat on the station platform. There were about four other people in the station area at this time and I was starting to fear for my safety. I took a seat nonetheless.


The Fallen Angels
The closest to me were a homeless-looking man and another young lady that didn't look too healthy to me. After a minute or so, I summoned up the courage to ask the man for directions. I mentioned the name of the hotel and mentioned that it's very close to the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel (I hear Obama once stayed at this Sheraton).

Turns out he wasn't very sure how to get there, so he beckoned to the lady. The lady turned out to be my heaven-sent angel because as soon as the man briefed her, she turned to me and asked: "close to Mig (that's how they say Mac) Donalds, right"? "Yeah, yeah", I said excitedly. There's a McDonalds outlet right beside the Crystal Inn Hotel where I stayed during my time in Salt Lake City.

She then went ahead to tell me the closest station (Courthouse) to the hotel was just one stop away in the forward direction. I thanked both of them briefly and hopped on the next train as soon as it arrived. After a smooth one minute ride in a near-empty train cabin, I arrived at CourtHouse, as announced by the female computer voice. With a silent prayer in my heart that I would be able to find my way back 'home' from here, I alighted the train.

Turns out the lady was right. After walking for less than ten minutes, I could see my hotel straight ahead. I was thankful that I didn't have to sleep in the cold streets that night because of course, the thought had crossed my mind. It was not until almost midnight before I stepped foot in my hotel room for the last time that day.
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27 April 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

DSTV packages and channels in Nigeria

My end goal is to make it easy to select a new DSTV package based on your preference of channels via an online tool. Creating this post is the first step in that direction. I got the data from a page on DSTV website. I'm not sure how accurate the data is since the page was created way back in 2015. But that's the best source I was able to find online and I saw an indication that it was updated in March 2017.

The extra value added by this post versus the one on the DSTV website is that here, you can search for the channel name. Let me keep quiet on the selfish reasons why I'm doing this. But trust me, I can't wait for those results to manifest.

If you've ever asked yourself the question, "Does DSTV <packagename e.g. Premium> package contain <DSTV channel e.g. Nat Geo Wild channel 182>?", then this post definitely contains the answer to your question.


DSTV logo

Using this data, I will eventually create a web page on which users can select some channels and get in return, a ranking of packages containing all or most of the choice channels. Users will be able to rank the package results by search relevance (number of matched channels) and price.

DSTV NIGERIA PACKAGES AND CHANNELS

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8 April 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

Caught watching porn in a Lagos office

Adams Oshiomole (A Nigerian politician), purportedly receiving a blowjob from a woman in bikinis

That up there (the uncensored version) is the picture which hit me the moment I opened my office Whatsapp group last Friday afternoon. I just could not believe my eyes. This has got to be the most eventful occurrence around me this year. The poster of the picture (let's call him Staff) is not in my address book. So, the first thing I did was click the number on the post which led me to his Whatsapp profile and fortunately, he had a DP. Yahoo!

It took a while after this before anyone else posted anything on the group. I guess that like me, everyone else was shocked and just decided to pretend that nothing had happened. In fact, as soon as I confirmed the identity of this hapless staff, I deleted the picture from my Whatsapp thread. A colleague also reached me ( a group admin) to see if I could delete the picture centrally, so as to limit the spread. Unfortunately, Whatsapp does not have that feature.

The next post in the group was that of my second-line manager who is functionally the most senior staff on the Whatsapp group. The post said: "Staff, you will be sanctioned for this". Then addressing Staff's first-line supervisor, "Manager, write him a query immediately".  When I saw this, I combusted in fury from right where I was seated.

My thoughts

I get it, manager. You're shocked. I know how you feel.

  • But Staff did not ask to be in this group in the first place. He's in this group because company authority mandates him to be in the name of god-knows-what-bullshit
  • Obviously, this was an accident. He was clearly not trying to delight us with a shocking photoshopped picture of Oshiomole receiving a blowjob
  • Isn't the embarrassment and social ridicule from 100+ colleagues whom he will have to deal with on a daily basis already enough punishment for him?
  • When you sanction him, what exactly would you be punishing him for? Having an obscene picture on his phone? Do you agree with me that this was an accident? If you do and then argue with me that it's because this occurred during office hours when he should have been focused on work, then I would ask you to answer sincerely if your reaction would have been any different had this happened outside of work hours, or even on a weekend
  • He did not opt into this group in the first place! In a more structured environment, I'm sure there would be a T&C guiding the reaction to such a mishap
Let's face it. You're just responding instinctively to shock. I acknowledge your shock. I'm also shocked and you have a right to be shocked and to react to shock. But you're management for a reason. You're expected to be an expert at making good decisions. Take a step back and think about it. What if the victim of this mistake was someone who was more dear to your heart than Staff is? Is this the same way you would have reacted?


P.S.
What do you think? Let me know, especially if you think my tendency towards forgiveness in this scenario is too liberal.
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Hafiz Adewuyi

Buy good quality t-shirts online in Lagos/Nigeria at the right price

TL;DR: Just click here to go to Fasho online t-shirt store and order your #slay t-shirt right away.

"Not every time scold a business in your articles Hafiz. Sometimes, be nice please and commend someone"
 - Anoymous

Well. Since I already rank well for suits in Nigeria, I might as well aim to do the same for t-shirts. So, here we go.

At least, five times within the past six months, I've approached Google with the sole intention of finding a good place to buy t-shirts online. More or less, an e-commerce store that focuses solely on t-shirts. T-shirts are my choice piece of clothing because they're easy to wear, easy to clean and generally need no ironing #lowMaintenance. And I want to show off my lack of a pot belly. Yes, online stores like Jumia and Konga sell t-shirts and everything else on the surface of this satanic earth. But I found that the price of t-shirts on those platforms can be quite varied and are generally on the high side.


#Slaying 😎😎😎 in my Fasho t-shirt at the Geeks and Grills meetup in Lagos #geeksAndGrills

Each of the times I tried, my Google search generally came back void. The closest I found to a niche t-shirt store in Nigeria was T-shirt factory. I was excited when I saw the name but on visiting the website, I found out that they only do custom t-shirts in bulk. T-shirt factory was definitely not the e-commerce store I was looking for.

Early this March was when I happened upon Fasho t-shirt store. They'd been mentioned in the daily Techcabal newsletter which I read almost every day. As soon as I saw it, I rushed off to check the website out. Let me just cut to the chase, I was impressed. Modern, simple and intuitive UI.

The first and only thing you can do on the site's homepage is to select your t-shirt size: Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) or Extra Large (XL). As soon as you make a choice from the drop-down list of sizes, the site loads up what I would describe as an endless array of t-shirts. T-shirts of different colours, different designs and different styles, with the price of the shirts ranging between 2500 and 3000 Naira.

After a few minutes of scrolling down as far as I could through the photo grid of t-shirts, I finally made two picks, entered my delivery details and opted for POD (pay-on-delivery). Interestingly, delivery fee was 500 Naira only. One thing that often dissuades me from shopping online is the delivery fee which is sometimes quite exploitative. If you buy three different items on Konga, more often than not, you would pay three different delivery charges. The minimum delivery charge per item being 500 Naira and it could be higher depending on what it is you're buying. Well, I understand it's because Konga is only a middleman in such transactions, but then, I don't care. Of course, I chose POD because I didn't want to be stuck in case the shirts did not meet my expectations; quality and fit wise.

I think the same day or so, I got a call from the founder (Rotimi) who had posted about his t-shirt store on Techcabal's Radar. He was calling to confirm that the order was real and I assured him that I wasn't just playing around. The price of my order of 2 t-shirts was 5900 Naira, inclusive of delivery.

My order arrived at my office a couple of days later. I got the chance to try out the t-shirts in front of the restroom mirror while the delivery man waited. It turned out that both shirts fit just right, which was like a first for t-shirts I ordered online. I quickly returned to the delivery man to make my payment so he could carry on with his day. "Today is the last time I would wear a BYC t-shirt as a regular t-shirt from a lack of t-shirts to go around every day of the week", I thought to myself. I always remember the day (a few months back) that I was mocked by my colleagues for wearing a BYC shirt to work.


Affordable online t-shirts from Fasho t-shirts store in Nigeria
My t-shirts from Fasho. No paint-brushing.

I think what Fasho online t-shirt store gets right are as follows:
  • Great user experience in that the website is clutter-free and shows you only what you need to see by default. That stems from the fact that Fasho is a niche fashion store, focused on t-shirts as opposed to fashion in general. Also, the fact that the first thing you're asked to do on the site homepage is select your size means that you won't see any t-shirts which are not your size. Cool right?
  • Right pricing for decent quality t-shirts
  • Also, you can return shirts which do not fit you properly and get a full refund
  • I actually just discovered a killer point which makes all of the sense in the world. See this line from their about page: "Tees on our site are usually available in only one piece and in only one size. But we do have a big collection, so we are sure you'll find something you like". So, I just went to check the store now and true to that claim, this shirt and this shirt which I bought are marked "Sold Out". I like that because it means that the chance that I'll run into another bro with the same shirt in Lagos is tiny.

There you have it. If you hate the hustle of fashion shopping in the Lagos Island markets: Eko Idumota, Balogun market and CMS or even Yaba market, you should definitely try this out. A few days after I received my t-shirts, Rotimi called for feedback on my order. Needless to day, my feedback was positive. I also told him how much I'd love to patronise a niche store which carries other casual clothes like shorts and jeans at the right price, just like his t-shirt store. He told me his warehouse is in Lagos island and that for now, they only deal in t-shirts but are looking at dabbling into other areas in the near future.

I can't wait till they do because if I had my way, I would never step foot in any Lagos market again. The traders waste your time, are out to cheat you, leave you completely knackered and in the end, you find out that your choices were not necessarily the best and unfortunately, there is no option for return. Honestly, Fasho online t-shirt store's win over the traditional offline method of shopping for tees is just too obvious.

P.S.




Hey. Even though my reasons for writing this piece are mostly altruistic, it won't hurt if when you decide to try out Fasho, you use the links in this article (http://rwrd.io/xwb555g). If you do, I will get a free t-shirt for your first order. Let's make it a win-win :). #willBlogForTShirts
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25 March 2017

Hafiz Adewuyi

The worst purchase decision I made in 2016 or in my life

After work yesterday, I was hanging out with Victor, my friend who is one of the few people who encourage me to keep blogging. At some point, he suggested that I build a mobile app version of the Yoruba tone marking tool. So, after telling him I was no good at building mobile apps (despite my numerous false-starts of learning it), I went further to reveal how I had invested $19 into an online Android programming course in January. The kicker? The last time I visited the course was the same boring Sunday afternoon when I purchased it. I bought the course, watched the first 12-minute video via the online classroom with the intention of returning the next day. It is now almost two months since then, but that next day is yet to show up.  


Victor mocked me lightly, mentioning how I could have gotten those same videos for free on YouTube and saying in Yoruba, how those "sharp guys" have nabbed me. Victor is an Igbo boy but if we're both placed side-by-side to speak Yoruba, he would thrash me in terms of accentuation. He went on to share his thoughts on how if he's financially motivated enough, he would consider joining those sharp guys by hiring a brilliant software developer and setting up an online coaching offering. "I would just put up a page with videos copied from somewhere else and state that I'm available for consultation within the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Saturday", he said.

Since I had shared my stupid decision to buy this Android course and I survived his mockery, it occurred to me, later on, to share a similar goof (but on a much larger scale) with him. I told him to promise not to mock me if I shared this mighty goof with him or else, I might be the next to jump into the lagoon out of the stigma. Once I said this, he told me he would rather I didn't share it because he wouldn't want my blood to be on his neck :D

At that point, the intention to share my big goof left my mind for a while. But I guess my subconscious dwelt on it, because not too long after, I resolved to share it. I wanted to face my fear which had made me keep it to myself until now, head on. The fear of being called a buffoon, or worse still, to be seen as someone who cannot improve their life to save their life.

Now that leads us to the Koko of this story. Enjoy laughing at me for the rest of this piece. It's your lucky day!

I PAID $299 dollars for an online course!!!

That was in one of the -ember months of 2016. And the very first time I revisited the course after the purchase was two weeks ago (March 2017) when I was feeling a little motivated. I completed what was more or less the introduction of the course over a course of three nights (probably at 5% progress now). And since then, I've not gone back to it. I want my money back!

The title of the course is How to Market yourself as a Software developer (H2MYSD). I can remember like it was yesterday how enthusiastic and ecstatic I was just before I purchased the course. I was absolutely sure this was what I needed to change my story from "developer who is always frustrated from being underpaid" to "Nigerian rockstar millionaire developer". At least, that's what the course promised.

What spurred me on to take the final step in this investment were the two following things:
  • The author promises a 100% money back guarantee if I am not satisfied with the course, but on the conditions that I must have gone through the course, applied the principles therein and have evidence that it did not work for me, within a year of the purchase date (I still have time)
  • I was sure that motivation to complete the course would not be a problem as is often the case when I try to learn new stuff via free MOOC platforms. For one, I needed to change my life as a matter of urgency. Secondly, I thought it was beyond my bounds of laziness to shell out so much money for a course and then fail to get the best of it through dutiful study and application
Alas. Over the next following months, I got to learn more about myself; about the truly boundless nature of my laziness. The only reminders I had of the H2MYSD course were the calls I received from my younger sister, each time the monthly $99 debit hit her GTB Naira MasterCard which I had used to make the initial payment.

I want to insert a wise lesson to end this article. But there's none. Except that I should not buy any other online course until I exhaust my current decaying 'stash'.

My friend Victor is a nice guy. He truly did not want me to jump into the lagoon on my way from Victoria Island back home through the Third Mainland bridge to Yaba that night. So he regaled me with the story of how he had paid about 50000 Naira for an offline CCNA training a few years ago and failed to actually engage with the training until it was over. Now, he regrets the fact that he lost that opportunity because he can imagine a parallel universe where he has better career opportunities from taking advantage of his investment in the CCNA course.

Have you got a similar goof to share? Use the comments section below. Thanks for reading. 

P.S.

Please, don't share. My next employer must not see this. After all, my CV says I'm a fast and self-motivated learner.
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