Dancing with the devil
By Onyango Odondo
I had just taken a loan of Sh200,000 and had settled in my new cosmetics shop. For the two months period that the shop had been operating, I was recording impressive sales and I was beginning to have a vision of turning this shop into a big wholesale in future.
This vision was becoming clearer and clearer each passing day.
It was not until the end of my second month in business that I felt that God had finally opened my way for the true realisation of my dream.
The day was Wednesday, a day which appeared so promising from the onset.
It was 11am when a new white saloon car parked near my shop.
A man and a woman in their early thirties alighted from the vehicle. Each of them carried a file. At first I thought they were officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority. I was not comfortable with them. My business had not been registered and I did not have an ETR machine.
I only got a sigh of relief when the guests introduced themselves as Ms Wairimu and Mr Kisia, from an international cosmetics company based in Nairobi.
They told me that they were distributors of a variety of cosmetics. They produced a catalogue that had names of lotions which I had never heard of before.
I began to imagine that these were the people I had been waiting for all my life. I could see my big dream of owning a wholesale shop becoming a reality.
After going through the catalogue, a bait was dropped for me to swallow. Wairimu went back to the car and brought me a dazzling white T-shirt with the company’s name emblazoned on it. I received this gift with smiles.
We went back to the catalogue and they helped me identify some fast moving items, which I then listed, on a piece of paper.
As we now embarked on serious business, the final bait was dropped; a bait that I would later live to regret why I accepted to swallow it.
Swallowing the bait
"For every purchase of goods worth Sh100,000 and above we shall give you a credit of a similar amount payable within 21 days. If I you order and pay for goods worth Sh100,000, we shall be supplying you with goods worth Sh200,000 and you will pay the remaining Sh100,000 within 21 days," they offered.
"Holy Jesus, what a good business!" I thought.
They told me that there was a consignment bound for our town which was coming in the next four day and that the faster I paid my money, the more likely I would receive my goods on this day.
This was a golden chance, one of its own kind, which I could not afford to miss. I had to look for a reasonable amount within the shortest time possible and place my order immediately.
I approached some two business friends to lend me some money. One of them gave me Sh50,000 while the other one gave me Sh25,000. I also withdrew Sh100,000 from my account and, therefore, managed to raise Sh175,000.
I was looking forward to raising Sh500,000 in future to be able to get goods worth ShI million in order to start my wholesale shop.
After assuring them that I had Sh175,000 at hand, they helped me order for goods worth Sh350,000.
I signed against this order, which was in duplicate, indicating that I had paid Sh175,000 and would pay the balance of Sh175,000 within the next 21 days. They countersigned and took their copy and I remained with mine.
It was all smiles by the time they were leaving.
We exchanged our contacts. They congratulated me for being co-operative and assured me of other nice packages in future if I continued dealing with them. They wished me well in my business and told me to expect my goods on Monday, the following week.
Sealing the deal
Three days later, I received a call from Wairimu. In her sweet soprano voice, she assured me that my goods were coming. I could not doubt her because she was so pleasant to me.
Monday came at last. I woke up earlier than usual expecting the goods from Nairobi. I had tuned my customers to expect new good variety of cosmetics beginning from that Monday. At exactly 10am I decided to call Wairimu. A female voice came in response. "Sorry, the mobile subscriber cannot be reached".
I tried to call again but the reply was the same. I tried Kisia’s number but he also could not be reached.
For a whole week I tried calling the duo, but they could not be reached. Weeks have now turned into months and Wairimu and Kisia cannot be reached. My loan is in arrears, my business friends are on my neck and my cosmetic shop was long been closed.
The last time I tried to drown in a fishpond to forget about the deal, I was rescued. I did I know that I was putting my head in the mouth of a crocodile when I was entering into this deal.
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