The culture of “no change” in Nigeria

The culture of “ no change ” in Nigeria

Tipping is something that is very common and is practiced all over the world including Nigeria, but it is never forced. It comes naturally to some people to tip whoever has provided a service or services them.

But this gesture is almost losing its essence and has been misinterpreted by people who render essential services. The culture is when you are coming out from a fast food restaurant, supermarket or any firm, you are expected to tip the security guard at the entrance or exit. When you are leaving the premises, you are expected to tip the gatemen at the gate. Or tip the waitresses and waiters at restaurants. It is never compulsory and should not be seen as such.

But these days, in restaurants and lounges, the waiters and waitresses see it as their right to be tipped. This may be responsible for the “ no change ” habit of waitresses. They look for all manner of ways to extract money from their customers.

“ No change ” is now becoming a common statement when one buys an item from a super market or an eatery and expects to collect “change,” or the remainder of his or her money.

Can we attribute it to the economic situation? Are they not being paid well? Have sales boys and girls become greedy? Is it another form of corruption? These are questions begging for answers.

Damola Omojokun was with his girlfriend at a popular restaurant on Victoria Island, Lagos. After having dinner, his bill was handed to him. He paid and his change was N200. They simply told him “no change.”

He said “They sounded as if they were on their right. They said they did not have N200 to give me and expected me to leave like that.”

Continuing he said “When I remembered how many times I have left change with them, I insisted that I must get my money back that day. N200 is not a lot of money but it is needed to make millions. If you want to count One million naira, for instance, you will start from one.

“I insisted they paid me not minding what anyone in that restaurant would think. In the end, they found my change for me.”

In the same vein, Frank Ogun, who is a mixed race narrated his ordeal in the hands of waiters and waitresses. “My father is a white man while my mother is a black, hence my complexion. It has helped me when it comes to customer service. But when it comes to collecting my change, it is somewhat a disadvantage. Due to my complexion, they hardly give me change when I buy something anywhere. They look at me and smile and say “no change”, expecting me to go like that.
The fact that I am light skinned doesn’t mean I am always financially buoyant. It is a problem here,” he said.

“I once fought with a barman over this issue,” Michael Omoniyi said. “There is a popular bar close to my house where I normally hangout, especially when there is a football match. On that fateful day, I bought drinks and pepper soup. My change was 50 naira. I knew they wouldn’t give me and knowing that I would be there the next day or two days later, I told the lady next time.

“I was there two days later with only N300 naira on me and a bottle of beer is N300. I ordered for Harp. When I finished, I gave the lady at the bar N300 and she said It remains N50. I reminded her that she owed me N50. She said I gave her the money as a tip. I called her a liar. Then she began to insult me. I got so angry that I almost hit her. Some of the guests said because of N50 you want to hit a woman? I have never felt so embarrassed in my life. I vowed never to go back there again.”

Mr. Inok Bradford, Group GM, Glonik Hotels, is of the view that, some waiters do it deliberately. “They are so used to tips from rich people that they expect it from everyone. It is wrong. We don’t encourage that in my hotel. No customer should be forced to part with his change.”
The poor economic condition has worsened the situation. It was not as bad as this before.”

That’s one of the lingering issues in town. Customers are forced on a daily basis to part with their hard earned money. That’s not all. The conductors who ply our roads too do not always have “change”to give to commuters. If you insist, they pair you up to sort yourselves.

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