Eastleigh: Kenyans Share Their Funny Experiences While Shopping at Famous Estate

a busy street in Eastleigh, Nairobi
  • Eastleigh is one of the fast-growing estates due to the sprawling of new shopping malls

Eastleigh is arguably Kenya’s version of Dubai. Kenyans from all walks of life throng the busy estate in a bid to get a bargain on their clothing and footwear purchases. Eastleigh is famed for its many state-of-the-art malls that sell clothes and shoes at a cheaper price than anywhere else in the country. While Gikomba is famous for second-hand clothing items, Eastleigh boasts of new clothes that are directly imported from Asian countries.

Despite its fame, many Kenyans have found themselves on the receiving end while visiting the shops that are predominantly owned by members of the Somali tribe. In a social media post shared in one Facebook group, one Kenyan by the name of Mis Anna Bell posted the following: “Eastleigh huwa unatry kubargain mali, seller anakwambia Hapana na anachukua simu anarudi TikTok wewe umesimama hapo.” (“In Eastleigh, you might be trying to bargain for goods, but the seller tells you “No” and they proceed to take their phone and login into TikTok, while you are just standing there.”)

And other group members didn’t hesitate to share their hilarious experiences and ordeals at Eastleigh.

User Charawe Charawe said, “Woria (slang for Cushites) usually sell to you as they please, yet they also want to buy from you the way they please.”

Another user named Thenge Ya Ituura added that he has never liked those Somalis because their ego is pro-max. He continued to say, “I wonder if they employ someone, the kind of mistreatment they will subject to their employee. The same reason I would rather back to the village than fly to the Middle East to work for their cousins, the Arabs.”

Other users laughed off the matter arguing that it is their business and they should treat their customers as they please.

For example, Wangui Kingori said that due to their many customers, by the time one is bargaining, the seller has already made their profits for the day, and they are just waiting for the day to end. The same sentiments were shared by Maureen Muthoni Njue and Joan Ngugi who pointed out that traders are Eastleigh are ego-centric because they know the buyers won’t get better prices elsewhere unless by importing whatever they are looking for.

Although traders and shop owners are guided by the principles of willing buyer, and willing seller, they need to understand the concepts of good customer relations since some of their actions are true depictions of arrogance. Take the case of Cynaida Mweche, for example, who says she went there with her friend in December of 2023 to buy shoes, but upon enquiring, the seller just ignored them, prompting them to go and buy elsewhere.

Another comment that captured many was by Moindi Mi Gi Raw who said she and her friend went to buy some clothes but while trying to bargain on their preferred item, the seller insisted that they buy a cheaper item, which they didn’t fancy. As they were leaving, they told the seller that they would go back home and save for their preferred clothing item, but the seller warned them never to return to his shop.

Other users reiterated being insulted by shopkeepers for not finding clothes or shoes that could fit them or for enquiring about items that the sellers did not have in their shops. Another user laughed at how at one time she was asked to hurry up because the sellers wanted to eat. At times the sellers ask one to leave their premises if they are not buying any item.

Despite the many negative sentiments, some users offered advice on how to deal with the Somali traders. For example, Blessed Israel and Ali Mohammed said due to their fairer pricing, many Eastleigh traders find bargaining as an insult and waste of time. In the case of Kanumbi Njoroge, his advice was for people to try visiting Eastleigh malls early in the morning, probably between 6 and 9 am. Jackie Tom Kawi, Emmah S Majimbo, and Gakenia Wendo advised buyers to know that Eastleigh traders prefer selling at wholesale prices to sell large quantities.

The Business Bay Square (BBS) Mall in Eastleigh

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