Online Shopping Gone Wrong

By Jacque Tuyisenge

One Sunday morning, I met my neighbor on the veranda of the Roman Catholic Church. It was a cloudy day, and noisy too as the entire congregation was waiting outside for the elder to open the church.
“Hi friend!” I greeted, “long time without seeing each other!”
“Long time indeed!”
“How have you been though? I hope all is going well?”
“I’ve been doing well,” he said. “I started a business selling phones, and it’s going super well.”
“I am curious to know how you do your business,” I asked. “Would you mind sharing?” I always wished to start a business, but I didn’t know how and where to invest the small capital I had.
“Sure! I have a friend from China who helps me to ship the phones after I have placed an order through an online website. Let me show you how I navigate through it. It’s called Alibaba.”
He showed me an example of Samsung phones on his laptop, explaining that he can purchase 10 older Samsung S10+ smartphones for $160. I was surprised but skeptical as well.
“How is this possible? My friend, there is no way you can order 10 Samsung smartphones at such a cheap price. If that is the case, help me get 30 phones and I’ll add $50 and pay him $210 instead of $160.”
“Yebabawe! It’s very much possible!” My friend smiled as he scrolled up and down the advertisement page for the Samsung phone. “Give me some time, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I spoke to my Chinese friend.”
“No worries. Take your time and whenever you’re ready, I’ll give you the money.”
“Consider it done. It was nice to see you, my friend. Bye!”
I didn’t hear anything from my friend the next months. I got frustrated, and I investigated the Alibaba website myself. To my disappointment, the phones were much more expensive than my friend had claimed. The prices he told me about didn’t exist. Also, I found out that the phones where second hand, brand-new ones cost $250 a piece.
I felt disappointed and betrayed. I already sensed something was wrong when he asked for the money in advance, so I told him I wouldn’t do that. He played with my feelings, but what hurts the most is that I was very excited about the idea of starting my own business, but my plans failed.

12 April, 2023