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Convenience Shopping

One of the advantages of shopping in Malawi is you can quickly get all the fruit and vegetables that you need without making a special journey. While driving through the countryside you can get good prices and some of the stalls are quite colourful.

On the way to Monkey Bay Amelia thought she would buy something for the Ilala

Some people may feel intimidated at the thought of bargaining at the side of the road in a poor country. In Malawi I don’t think it is really a problem. When there are various sellers in a small market town they are usually enthusiastic rather than aggressive. There is not much aggression in Malawi and few people do the ‘hard sell’. Outside of market towns you will often see stalls separated by several yards. This gives you thinking time as you drive past the first two or three. Different areas specialise in different types of fruits, vegetables or crafts so you have time to think ‘now do I want melons?’ as you zoom past the first few stalls. It also means that in these particular areas you can get better prices.

I always say to people who want to sell to me “you need to speak to wife” and that seems to work every time. Amelia certainly has much more of an idea over what she thinks things should cost. She is a better negotiator than me but always says that it is not hard to get a fair price.

[I had a quick look on the internet to see how accurate / inaccurate / misleading my choice of heading would be. I was relieved to see that ‘convenience shopping’ means different things in different parts of the world – no set global definition. If anyone is thinking of coming to Malawi and stumbles on this blog post while trying to find out what the shops are like…let me assure you, there are modern supermarkets in Malawi].