Christmas hampers: sellers decry low patronage in Lagos

A basket of hamper

Ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations, hampers have flooded markets and shopping centres in Lagos, but dealers complain of low patronage.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that hampers are usually presented as gifts by individuals, groups and corporate organizations during the celebrations.

A correspondent of NAN, who visited markets and shopping malls in Lagos metropolis reports that unsold harpers in decorated raffia baskets, plastic bowls and wooden boxes abound in the places.

The markets visited include Apongbon, Oke Arin, Ikeja and Iponri markets.

The prices of the hampers depend on their sizes, contents and descriptions. They range from N10,000 to N200,000.

Dealers, who spoke to NAN, expressed disappointment at the low patronage, which they attributed to the poor economic situation in the country.

Mrs Folasade Aribisala, a shop owner at Apongbon Market, said that she regretted investing in hampers in the last two years, adding that hardship greatly reduced purchasing power.

“I have had 50 hampers for sale since November; hardly have I been able to sell 10. It is so discouraging.

“Low patronage of hampers is becoming a recurring nightmare to us.

“Many of my counterparts did not invest in hampers this year; I wish I did not tie my money down in it,’’ Aribisala said.

Mrs Ogechi Ukwa, who sells hampers at the Alaba Shopping Mall, near Orile, said that she had yet to make any brisk business this festive season.

She also attributed the low patronage to hardship.

A banker, Mrs Omotola Onasanya, told NAN that her family had received only two hampers this year compared with those of last year.

“Usually, by now, we would have got up to 15 hampers. I am shocked that we have received only two.

“It has to do with the fact that many companies are trying to reduce expenses amid low profit.

“The economy is just recovering from the recession,’’ she said.

However, a cosmetologist, Mrs Monisola Adewale, attributed the low purchase of hampers to the attitude of some dealers, who put cardboards on the base of the baskets to make hampers to appear fuller than they are.

“It is annoying that when you open some hampers, most of the items are almost expired. There is no value for the money paid for the hampers.

“Because of these unwholesome practices, many people buy the items needed in bulk and prepare the hampers by themselves.

“They are even cheaper than off-the-shelf hampers,’’ Adewale said.

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