Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Furniture Shopping with an Audience

Tuesday we went furniture shopping for a sofa and some chairs and some other items to be used in the iY lounge.  

Furniture shopping in Uganda is not like doing it in the states. There are furniture stores in Kampala, but the items there are very expensive and outside of our budget. The alternative is to shop as the Ugandans do... There is a road in Kampala where a lot of "manufactures" have their "work shops and showrooms" so that is where we went.  You can find bed frames, book shelves, stools, desks, tables, chairs and more. 

We arrived in the truck, because there really isn't street to door delivery.  Getting out of the truck we are greeted, by a person who acts as your handler - broker, with "ahh my friend you buy from me I give you best pricing."  So we begin the process of shopping.  We are looking for a desk, sofa and 2 chairs and our handler directs us to the pieces and we negotiate.   As we walked around and looked at different pieces we were followed by at least 7 people.  They also stand close, so if you are trying to discuss the merits of a particular piece or price you have to do it quietly or ask for space. Haha

We learned from David, our driver that this handler is elected by the people who make the furniture to help sell their items and to negotiate for them and takes a cut of the sale. The manufacturers we delt with did not appear to speak a lot of English. 

We settled on a basic 3 drawer desk, a set of solid wood sofa and chairs, 2 reed racks to be used in the kitchen and a shoe rack that we felt would stand up to many teens. We still have to purchase cushions for the sofa & chairs or none of us will spend much time relaxing in them. 

The guy in the green shirt was our "handler."  

It was quite the adventure and now we are experienced.  

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