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Kaakyire Kwame Appiah

Bend-down to the rescue

Seven more days and Christmas will arrive at its destination.  To commemorate the occasion, everyone is buying; buying anything they can lay hands on. I am one of such shoppers – an initially perturbed one.  But no more.    


Before salaries were paid last month, certain serious responsibilities crossed my way.  So although I had Obodai supporting me with the expenses, two thirds of my salary was gone by the time it landed in my account.  I simply didn’t know how this Christmas was going to be like without adequate cash on me.  

In the midst of my concerns, four of my teenaged dependants, two girls and two boys, who presently live with my older aunt in Krobo Odumase sent me their wish lists: each of them wanted shoes for church, two new clothes each for the girls; two shirts and trousers each for the boys. 

Eigh, that reminds me.  The other day one of you was asking of my nephew Razak.  You remember him?  My nephew who lived with me till I got married?  Razak is 23 now.  Currently a fully fledged young man, he works with the Koforidua branch of one of the banks.  I am so grateful to the Lord for enabling me to contribute to his education up to the tertiary level.  Razak!  He visits us from time to time.  Oh see how I drift. 

So the afore-mentioned list aside, I needed to buy stuff for my aunt with whom my dependants live.  I needed to score political points with my in-laws too – their hamper had to be worthy of their receipt.  My mother’s list was still pending.  By the end of the first week of this month, I was one of the unhappiest women in town.  I just needed a way out of the situation.

Since I didn’t have time to scout around town for prices (because I had a lot of firming up to do on certain documents at work before the holidays commenced), on Wednesday last, I made a friend ask for the prices of clothes and shoes from town for me.  I wanted quality ones too because Christmas is the only time I get them new shoes especially.  

The sum of goods to be bought, as tended in by my friend was Gh¢1,350.00.  Where on earth was I going to get that kind of money from?  

That same evening, someone going my way after work offered me a lift to Madina.  He didn’t use my usual route so I got to find new places of interest, linking from the East Legon area to Ashalley Botwe.  And  gosh!  Was I not surprised to find nice clothes and shoe shops littered along the route!

After by-passing two shops in succession, I begged to alight in front of the third.  I just sensed it would serve my dual desire for clothes and shoes.  The clothes on the mannequins were so sleek, so were the shoes on display in glass cabinets which faced the main road. 

I was greeted by the peculiar smell of second hand wares when I entered the shop whose sales persons, three in number, smiled on seeing me.  I felt so welcomed and Christmassy – they were playing Boney M’s collection of carols.

The clothes had been grouped into classes of three: those which were worn by the mannequins had different prices.  They were the first selection.  Those hanging on the rails were the second selection.  Their prices were fairly inexpensive.  Those in heaps, meant for bend-down exercises were the least priced.  They ranged from Gh¢5.00-Gh¢15.00.      

The males’ heap was separated from the females’ mound. “Abakede”, I whispered to myself, smiling with gratitude to the Omnipotent King whose divine leading had led me there.  Placing my handbag beside my right leg on the floor, I asked one of the attendants for a plastic chair.  That was to enable me do a meticulous search. 

The first pink blouse I pulled out, made of chiffon, owned a Dorothy Perkins label.  It was an adorable blouse with a pretty lace collar – never been worn.  It was a size 14. 

Laying it across my handbag, I began to search for the next item.  An army green pure cotton blouse with a front opening, bearing the label, New Look, was next.  A size 14 too.  I laid it aside.  The girls were both size 14s so the search was working for me.  By the time an hour elapsed, I had found ten designer tops, five each for them.  They all had never been worn. 

Their calibre was of those worn by the mannequins.  Expensive looking! And good quality too.  My search got me four nice flowered and plain flare skirts for my girls.  All for a good discount, the ladies clothes, skirts and tops, came to Gh¢70.00.

For the two gentlemen I got four fairly worn pairs of jeans at Gh¢10.00 each.  Their shirts, check ones and plain, cost Gh¢7.00 each.  I bought four each for them.  New ones oo.  Now calculate my total. 

When I finished picking out the required four shoes at Gh¢30 each, all black leather, I began to hum to myself, “bigger than what people say, bigger than what people say, You are good, You are kind, You are bigger than what people say”. 

“Madam, you’ve got a good buy paa ooo”, the lady at the till said to me.  “All these are store rejects”, as she held each one out for proper folding.  I was so grateful to God that with as relatively low an amount of Gh¢250.00, I had sorted my wards out. What was left was my mother, aunt and in-laws’ list.

A butcher whose meat I patronise promised to get me a cute goat as a gift to my in-laws.  True his word, at Gh¢200, he got me a very admirable ruminant.  It is still bleating in our backyard.  I will send it off this weekend.  For my aunt, I have secured one piece of cloth, ten kilos rice, cooking oil and some corned beef for her. 

My mother’s list is next to sort.  I know that tomorrow by this time, God would have provided some good cash whose source I do not know, to answer that “nativity-kindness” question.

Are you worried about clothes for your wards and members of your households this Christmas?  Why worry stress yourself out when your answer lies in the next “fose” shop?  Once again, Merry Christmas in advance.

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