Tips (no pun intended) for ordering from small vendors

Part of what makes Dakar great are its many small vendors who deliver their artisanal products to your home for a small fee, which usually winds up being even less than you would pay for the taxi fare to go pick up your order. Woohoo!

Several vendors have come to me recently with concerns and I wanted to pass on this information.

Time & costs
Many of these vendors live in the banlieue of Dakar, which means that a delivery to Almadies, Hann Maristes or Point E costs about 400cfa each way and takes a minimum of two hours round-trip. So the fee covers not just their bus fare but their time as well.

Eating their profits
Most vendors have a standard delivery fee for orders. Please understand that if you forget (or refuse) to pay this fee, the vendor may not feel comfortable reminding you or pushing for it. As a result, the transportation fare comes out of their pocket and eats into their profits – which are often much smaller margins than we realize.

Time & ingredients
Many small vendors buy ingredients only when an order comes in because stocking up in advance is not a good option when you share a kitchen with a large family. So if you order one loaf of bread, they still spend the same amount of time shopping and sourcing ingredients as if you bought five loaves.

SMS for clarity
While not all vendors are text-savvy, for many it is helpful if you send an SMS with your name following your first order placed by phone call. With all the languages and accents floating around, deciphering an unfamiliar name over the phone can be tricky. But when trying to find your home, they may need to know your correct name. And of course, many vendors are happy to receive orders by text message if you prefer that to speaking French over the phone.

Tips are not at all expected…
But of course they are appreciated.

Spread the word, please.
Even more though, if you are pleased with their products and services, they appreciate your recommending them to your friends. Expat clients generally have an expiration date, so these vendors are continually needing to find new customers to replace those who are leaving.

Thanks for taking these points into consideration as we support these hard-working, small business operators. If you aren’t yet up to speed on all the amazing goodness that can be delivered to your door, check out the Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market Facebook page for inspiration.



  1. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Very nicely put Kari.  Thank your for your thoughtfulness and care.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

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