The value of information and street smarts

  I have been procrastinating about taking the family car for repair specifically to change the brake pads, as they had started making that

 

I have been procrastinating about taking the family car for repair specifically to change the brake pads, as they had started making that annoying noise while driving on a steep slope. I know from experience that never buy car spare parts or any item for that matter in Kampala, without first understanding the price range. You may end up paying dearly for ignorance.

A week ago, I visited about three Garages and asked the price for the four brake pads. They told me it costs about Ugx. 70,000 a pair for the front tires and between Ugx. 70,000 to Ugx 120,000 a pair for the rear tires. They even showed me the cheapest fake brake-pads that cost Ugx 50,000 and briefed me about how to tell the difference. I was educated at no cost.

With this information, visited a Petrol Station to have the car brake pads changed. The mechanic looked at the car and just said, behind Ugx. 160,000. In front, Ugx. 120,000. Total Ugx. 200,000. I smiled. I asked him to bring the brake-pads he was going to sell to me. He did not have the stock. I made a few phone calls, and in no time, a man came with a black polythene bag. Suddenly, I was shown the break-pads.

I told them in the face, “each pair of these fake type costs Ugx. 40,000. But this is not what I want. I need the original type; can you bring it. The man disappeared again and appeared with another brake-pads. I looked at them and indeed looked like the original version I had been shown at the original equipment dealers. I told the man it costs about Ugx. 70,000 front tires and 80,000 a pair of hind tires.” The man who had just come with the black polythene bag looked at his colleague and commented, “Chaali, onu nawe muyaaye, abitegera,” meaning “boy, this man is like us, knows the workings of the street.”

I pretended not to understand a thing.

I made the decision easy for them, “I will pay additional Ugx. 10,000 for the installation.” And they accepted my offer.

The price of ignorance is big. Try to undertake a market survey. Research. Ask the experts. At worst, ask for a proposal and see what the competition is up to. You will learn a lot in the process. Folks who win have more information than you.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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