I hear people complain about the cost of living these days. Yep – everything’s become pretty expensive.
I just finished reading ‘The Checkout Girl’ by Tazeen Ahmad. She’s a journalist that goes undercover and works in Sainsbury’s for six months. During her time as a checkout girl, she speaks to her customers about the recession and how it’s affected the way they buy food, how much they buy and what they do to try and save money. It was an interesting read. And it got me thinking about the cost of living in Lagos and the amount of money people over here spend on the basics.
Let me first say that *everything* is available here. Most of the regular vegetables and fruit that we consume on a daily basis are available in the market- apples, bananas, pineapples, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots, etc. Sometimes are imported from a neighbouring country (depending on demand). A kilo of tomatoes can range from £1.20 to £2, depending on the availability and market prices. Not so bad. The fruit and vegetables are not of a bad quality – I buy them. The lettuce can be a bit limp sometimes, I suppose. But it’s one of those things you get used to and move on.
There are many expats that live here. And many of the wives don’t like to buy only ‘local’ produce and often buy imported goods as well. Some of them buy only the imported stuff. That’s ok – that’s their choice. But you won’t believe the prices they’re paying…
There’s a particular supermarket here, Lebanese owned. Lebanese people that live in France (or so I’m told). And they bring all their products in mainly from France. They sell everything: cheeses, fresh fruit and veg, yogurt, cooked ham, sausages, pate, butter, salmon brochettes, chorizo sausages, chocolate and wine. And a whole load of other stuff as well!
I went to this supermarket for the first time about six or seven weeks ago when I found out that it’s the only place that stocks Petits Filous yogurts. I was told that I had to go early on a Thursday morning because all their goods come in on a Wednesday evening. I’ve not witnessed it yet (I usually get there about 10am, and most people have gone by then), but apparently things can get quite nasty with the expat wives – fighting over the fresh fruit and vegetables!
I made the mad dash there yesterday morning – much later than usual because I went to my LBT class first and was relieved to find Petits Filous still there. I have never bought anything else there – but decided to have a quick walk around and check out the prices of a few random things. I wanted to do a bit more research – but because I was late, and the morning rush of mums had passed, the staff weren’t busy. And they were all looking at me suspiciously, with my notebook, pen and camera! So I did what I could…
This is what I found…
Tomatoes – N2650/1 kg. That is: £10.40 or $17. FOR TOMATOES! I kg of Sainsbury’s plum tomatoes is £3.
Mushrooms – N3290/1 kg. £12.95. In Sainsbury’s, I kg of white closed cup mushrooms costs £2.87
Cauliflower (never touch the stuff – but still) – N1940 each. £7.60 EACH!
Cherries – N3350/1 kg. That’s £13.20.
1 kg of Parmesan cheese is N5890, which is £23.20.
Special K cereal is N1230 = £4.84
Crunchy Nut – N1190 = 4.70
Oh – and the Petits Filous works about to just over £1 for each little tub.
I thought I was going to faint! It’s extortionate!
I decided that I would *only* buy the Petits Filous there – unless I need something for a special occasion.
When I think of the families that shop only at this supermarket, a saying pops into my head each time:
‘More money than sense.’