As most airports around the world, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA) Lagos, serves as a lucrative hub for vendors and touts alike.
From the marketer who wants you to rent a room in their hotel to unofficial baggage handlers, and peddlers who carry unique gems for your perusal or purchase, these forceful hustlers are determined to get you interested in whatever they are trading, enough to make a substantial purchase.
In truth, the original intent of these peddlers is not to bring misery to the lives of the affected however, they usually end up offending travelers in the process.
If you have ever fallen victim to these touts or do not want to end up a patsy, Jovago.com, Africa’s no. 1 online hotel booking site has rounded up a few ways travelers can deal with forceful vendors and touts at airports and possibly have a good laugh in the process.
Ignore and walk away
This may be very hard to do as vendors are persuasive and hard to ignore. Keep a stern or straight face, act oblivious to your surroundings and ignore their chants and pleas. Even if they pull at your clothing or try to block your path, stay mute and keep moving forward. This trick usually will dissuade them as you will be sending the clear message: “I cannot be bothered”.
If you do not have it in you to pull the stern move suggested above, you can engage the vendor in a haggling spree and ensure you only offer to make a purchase at a value that is outrageously lower than what is standard.
For instance, if the vendor is a taxi cab driver offering to take you to Lekki peninsula orIkoyi and you want to dissuade him from pestering you, make him an offer for N 1,000 as opposed to N5,000 which is standard range. The vendor will immediately let you be as he would not want to waste time with you.
Pretend you do not understand the language
This works best at the international airport. The moment a vendor accosts you, respond with a language you know he most probably will not understand, it could be a fake language. Throw in a bit of miming to further convince him that the language barrier is quite heavy. After a few seconds, the vendor is bound to leave you for another person who he can understand and speak to.
Dissuade them by insisting on what they don’t have
This works all the time and is the best way to avoid any form of strife. The moment the vendor approaches you, quickly size up his offer and insist on a brand or type of product that you are sure he does not have. If he insists that you wait while he gets the brand you requested from a storage unit or from another vendor, you can seize the opportunity and leave.
Offer to sell something to them
These touts and peddlers are only interested in making more money, rather than spending their seemingly hard-earned cash. Offering to sell something to them instantly puts them off. You need to sound very convincing and serious to pull this of inNigeria.
Let them know you do not have cash
These vendors do not sell on credit, no matter the circumstance. Simply let them know you do not have cash nor a debit or credit card. If it is an international airport, you can claim you do not have the Nigerian currency and you are not interested in changing your money at the airport. You will hardly find a vendor who would be willing to reach a compromise with you the moment you let them know you do not have money.
Patronize them anyway
This is usually a last resort and only works if you have a lot of cash to spare or the product is actually something you think may be useful to you in future. The moment you make a purchase from the vendor or tout, they will let you have your peace.