I had my first degree in a Nigerian Federal University. Those years were filled with a cocktail of events, experiences and memories. Besides ensuring that my school fees were always promptly paid, my parents also gave me money to fund my lifestyle. There were times that the stipend my parents gave me was not enough to cover my needs and expenses for the semester. Though this was rarely the case, I had some moments.
A couple of students engaged in side hustles, selling all sorts – food, clothing, services like photography etc and literally anything else that could be exchanged for money. Since it was not uncommon to do so, I quickly welcomed the idea when a colleague (Lade) had cakes made for sale. Oh my, I was excited at the possibility of making some extra money. Who wouldn’t?! I remember taking fifty pieces of cupcakes from her. I would sell at a margin and give her the cost of the cakes after I had sold them. That looked like an easy plan.
You should have seen the excitement with which I advertised the cakes each time someone visited my hostel. Ok, so perhaps it was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. People would smile when I told them I had cakes for sale but would promise to pay me at a later date. I barely sold twenty through direct marketing when I decided to take them to someone else (Tolani), who I perceived was good at selling. She had a tray besides her bed and most persons would go to her when they needed almost anything.
She did not disappoint me, as she had sold them all, barely two days from the time I gave them to her. The snag however, was that like me, she too had sold some of them on credit; waiting for her debtors to pay up before she paid me. It quickly became a web of debts. As Lade kept coming on alternate days to see if I could pay for the fifty cakes I had bought and presumably sold, it was apparent that I would have to pay for the goods I had bought and reconcile whenever Tolani paid me. I took money from my savings and paid Lade at her next visit. When she asked if I’d like to buy more, I humbly declined with a smile. Several weeks turned into months before I finally got fully paid by Tolani. The money came in trickles.