Shopping for the latest iphones, laptops, digital cameras, TVs, DVD players to mention a few goods sold at exclusively electronic shops has often been an enjoyable experience for many but not to one concerned customer who discovered an old trick salesmen use to lure customers and attract profits.
While shopping all over in Nairobi’s busy town centre for a phone, Mary’s final option was not to buy her new phone from an exhibition stall, but rather, one upscale electronics shops so as to buy a Sumsung Young phone on special offer at the price tag “Sh9,999”. Curious about the special offer, a sales attendant draws the her closer to admire the phone.
“This is the offer for the month,” explains the attendant flashing the phone noting that other phone assets come at a fee. Impressed, Mary buys the phone, giving the cashier Sh10,000. But as she gets the receipt and warranty details, the cashier looks at her with a “sorry” look appologising for not having loose change of a shilling. Mary empathises, has no qualms and walks away exited about her new purchase and friendly service.
Surprised, one would ask, “Isn’t one shilling still valuable for cash change?”
Though not new, this gimmick has quite benefitted a number of electronics’ shops that have price tags of Sh999, Sh9,999, Sh69,999 and so on. While the figure seems less and more affordable, using fewer digits, customers are drawn to purchase the products without understanding the value of one shilling. Yet, more than three quarters of Kenyans live on one US dollar a day, meaning that if they were to save a shilling a day, they would have set aside Sh365 a year – a fete for primary school pupil to receive such an amount as a Christmas present.
Other than that, minimizing the value of a coin, would mean that if a shop would sell 10 phones each day, appologising for not having “change of one shilling” or even Sh50 cents, the profits made would translate to Sh60 each week; Sh240 each month and Sh2,880 each year.
Thus, if would be wiser to ask for “loose change” as the Commercial Bank of Kenya states that it has not withdrawn or demonetised any of these coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, Sh1, Sh5, Sh10, Sh20, and Sh40 and they remain valid. According to CBK Governor Prof Njuguna Ndirangu, they are also the Legal Tender in Kenya as per provisions of the aforementioned Act.