Mangoes update

I'm gutted.

Having blithely believed that Nakuru's fruit-sellers are operating some kind of glorious E.P. Thompson-cum-Robert Putnam collaborative moral economy, it turns out that, er, they're not. One of the other fruit-sellers, Theresa, finally told me today that none of them work together, they all compete with each other, and would I like some especially sweet bananas from Kampala these ones are much nicer than Naomi's? When I asked the others, they confirmed this was true. Like everywhere else, selling mangoes is every woman for herself.

So I'm gradually learning the hard way that the first methodological principle of arms trade research (everybody is always lying) should also apply to sociological inquiry (everybody is always already lying). Still, it's a pretty astute hustle, and one that could only emerge in a country besieged by bleeding-heart white do-gooders: rather than undercut your competitor directly, tell the white do-gooder that you're in a cooperative, and hike your prices accordingly.


  1. Great insight Mike.. but were Theresa's bananas nicer than Naomi's?

  2. Didn't try Naomi's. In the interests of economic anthropology, I'll try to do an independent taste test next week.