Not far from my home in Kampala, there is a grocery, who owner was never left out in the Obama charm that swept the world early this year.
Initially, the owner (I do not know who) operated their business from this decrepit structure that has withstood the years of political turbulence that Uganda has witnessed.
Then comes in Obama, and the owner decided to place wooden signpost bearing the wordings "Welcome to Obama Grocery" ushering you to their tacky premises at the street corner.
I have bought a cluster of sweet bananas from this grocery at US$1, after winning the bargain from the lady attendant.
Then not far from President Obama's grocery is another grocery called "Good Price Supermarket" with neon lights to beam the business at night (never mind if the prices are not good). From here, I have bought UHT milk and sausages a couple of times. Good Price is bigger than Obama, but cannot outgrow Tesco chains anywhere in the world's large capitals.
On the downside, you can never bargain in Good Price since all the prices as fixed. One unusual issue about Good Price is that the management has plenty of ingenuity. A thick polythene hangs at the grocery's entrance and exit areas. Onto this polythene, the managers always pin up pictures of souls caught red-handed while shoplifting. The suspects are made to pose with their booty. My prayer has always been that I never see a familiar face on this polythene.
Upon purchase of any item, the Ugandan shopper will be issued a receipt with the footnote, "Goods once sold are not Returnable." One lesson I have learnt is to always look out when buying stuff from any Ugandan shopping centre, supermarket, market stall, vendor or hawker. To watch they genuineness of the change I am given, to watch out for the rotten tomatoes that I may be hoodwinked to buy.
But of late the arrival of South African giants of Shoprite, Game Stores as well as the Kenyan Nakumatt and Uchumi has changed the Ugandan shopping experience. These outlets say: "If you buy and do not like it, Return it and we can get your money back."