Confessions of a Fat Girl 15: Bad Business

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November 2nd, 2009

100.4kg!

I lost 3.2kg this past week!!!! I couldn’t be more thrilled! It was much more than I’d hoped. Hopefully, by next week’s weigh-in, I would have fallen below the 100kg mark.

Later in the morning, as I drove out of the gym, I realized I wasn’t quite as achy as I ordinarily would have been. I guess my body is getting used to all the exercise. Yay!!!

As I drove past our Church on the way home, I made a mental note to go for Mass this evening, as it’s All Souls Day today. Every year, on this day, I always remember my dear Mother. She passed away 16 years ago, when I was in my final year. She never really got over her split from my Dad, and had taken it badly when he had gone on to marry a woman half her age…and size. Her health had progressively weakened, and at the age of 49, she had suffered a massive heart attack, which had killed her instantly. I miss her every day, and wonder what it would have been like to have her in my life now. But I am so thankful for my sisters, who have taken on the role of mother to me (even though the age difference between me and my eldest sister is barely 5 years), and have been the best support system I could ever wish for.

It was in that somber mood that I drove to my shop. And truly, looking through our books over the last couple of months, things are not looking good.

“Madam, it’s the whole market!” said Favour, my senior Sales Assistant “Everywhere has just been dry!”

“Na true oh” agreed Blessing, my other Sales Assistant “Even Mummy Diran and Mrs. Nwosu never come this month!”

I sighed deeply. Those were some of our dedicated customers, who never failed to buy ample supplies of baby products for their kids every month. As I sat, trying to make sense of it, it suddenly dawned on me. Toun, aka Mummy Diran, was a staff of one of the banks shut down following the banking reforms by the new CBN Governor. The last time she had come here, we had chatted about this, and she had expressed hope about not being laid off, but instead being retained and transferred to the acquiring bank. But I hadn’t seen her after that time.

“Ah, Ihunna! It’s all of us oh!” came Uzoamaka’s voice, as she walked into the shop “The global financial crisis is affecting all of us. Yesterday, I didn’t even sell a bra in my shop”

I had to restrain myself from insulting her nerve to just waltz into my shop and barge in on a confidential conversation. This woman is just insufferable. Looking at the deep frowns on the faces of my girls, I could tell that they also were not amused by her intrusion.

“Nne, how now?” she continued, oblivious of our general resentment of her presence. “You look really good! Have you lost weight?”

I looked at her, my face reflecting both amusement and disbelief. Was this not the same woman who totally shot down all my efforts last time?! The same woman who laughed in my face, and ridiculed my weight loss efforts?!

“Good morning, Uzoamaka” I replied calmly “Thank you very much for the compliment. Can we talk later? My girls and I are just sorting out a few things.”

She looked taken aback for a minute, but quickly regrouped. “Okay…let’s talk later. I just saw your car, and thought to stop by to say hello.”

A part of me felt guilty for dismissing her like that, but the sensible part of me knew it was the best thing to do. It was her typical way. She would draw me into a conversation, by making me think we were in the same boat, and would then proceed to spread my story all over Ikota. No, I don’t need that. I am there for business…not to make friends.

I then proceeded to call our customers on the telephone, one by one, and it was just as I had feared. Almost all of them had been affected in some way by what was now being referred to as the “tsunami”, named after the CBN Governor…whether directly, or through their spouses. Toun, for one, hadn’t been lucky after all, and had not been retained by the bank that acquired her former bank. Basically, the vast majority of my customer base could no longer afford luxuries outside of what they considered basic necessities.

As I sat in my shop, staring at cartons of baby food and supplies that would soon have to be disposed of, as we raced closer and closer to their expiry dates, I felt a wave of depression begin to descend on me. I was staring at thousands of dollars going down the drain.

A few months ago, or even weeks, my immediate reaction to this would have been to eat something…preferably something sweet. But this time, I calmed myself down with an ice cold glass of water, before proceeding to have my girls mark down everything in the shop, some by as much as 75%. That done, I left for the school run.

For my business not to collapse, I will have to make some critical changes soon.

The question is, what exactly?

 

 

Catch up on Ihunna’s story here:

  1. Confessions of a Fat Girl 1: Grubbido
  2. Confessions of a Fat Girl 2: Fragile
  3. Confessions of a Fat Girl 3: Defiant
  4. Confessions of a Fat Girl 4: Progress
  5. Confessions of a Fat Girl 5: The Gym
  6. Confessions of a Fat Girl 6: Killjoy
  7. Confessions of a Fat Girl 7: Pain
  8. Confessions of a Fat Girl 8: Frenemies
  9. Confessions of a Fat Girl 9: Exhilarated
  10. Confessions of a Fat Girl 10: Popcorn
  11. Confessions of a Fat Girl 11: Free-fall
  12. Confessions of a Fat Girl 12: Sunday Morning
  13. Confessions of a Fat Girl 13: Mission Reactivated
  14. Confessions of a Fat Girl 14: New Things

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