I take everything back about what I said about sending someone out to do things for you. Well half anyway. When it comes to buying me fried yam, or washing the dishes my little cousin is on point. Anything more than that and it really is too taxing. We are still on the whole car thing. I said for him to come early as if he gets there too late, I may not get my car today, which means no car for the weekend. He got here at 7.45. I have only given him 200ghs so if he has to go out and get more money, and the ATM doesn’t work, that’s going to be another wahala. He says it will not be a problem. I say in any event he should get me an estimate in any event, so we can figure out what to do.
I get a a call at about 9, they cannot give me an estimate, only a rough figure. Isn’t that what an estimate is (?), anyway, looks like they had a thousand cars to deal with as they have only just started on my car, but they say it will be done today. The rough figure is more than I have given him, I do as the Ghanaians do and leave it to God for this one. I don’t like to be supersitious but today is not really turning out to be a good day. I feel like I’m going to fall apart both physically and mentally, terrible pms and peeing like a pregnant woman (although that may be due to the cup of tea, two litres of water and bottle of coke I drank today), don’t know what time I’m getting my car today, I have a big black whole in what used to be my bank account, and money is still threatening to release itself from my account, oh and the security guard this morning, hmmm. Well this morning, my obroni colleague was a few metres in front of me walking into the building. Security gets up and opens the door for him. Waits for him to pass, greets him and closes the door. By the time I got to the door it was closed, so I was there struggling to find this pass which was as usual buried somewhere in my bag. Do you think the security man would get up of his arse and help a sista out. No, he just stood there and watched me. When I eventually got fed up of looking for the thing and asked him for assistance, he simply waved the card over the scanner and sat back down. Bearing in mind my hand was still stuck in my bag at the time, you would think that even if I wasn’t an obroni, there is a thing called chivalry, but apparently that is dead and buried.
Apart from that it’s been a wonderful Friday 13th, it’s a shame it’s going to end soon.
Just to be a bit random, I really love it when people forward me emails “FYI” or “FYI & A” and it’s all written in French, then you put it in google translator and it just throws out random words but the sentences don’t actually make sense. Well, I guess I have to take those French classes more seriously.
Anyway, today’s topic is reinvestment and maintenance of businesses. Shangri-la, was once the leading hotel in Ghana, that was before we had your Holiday Inn, Golden Tulip etc.. It was the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night and if you were looking for a hotel to stay in, in Ghana, that would be the first choice. Today, they maintain the same executive prices for a room, it is the same price to drink a cocktail there as in Tulip, but it still looks the same as it did 20 years ago. I went there early part of last year on a Friday night to listen to their live band. it was one very pitiful live band, it actually looked like they just got some kids, put them in uniformed t-shirts and made them sing. There were about 5 people there that evening and that included the myself and the person I was with. It was a pity because I do actually like the poolside area at least they have managed to maintain there. There is a sign up now, Shangri-la has now changed to Western Sun or something like that. I hear some South African investors were taking up 50% of it’s shares and I guess that rennovations will be done in the coming months.
Now I could be wrong, but it seems to me that here, when people start up businesses like a hotel or something in the service industry, it starts off well, but as time goes by the business declines until it disappears in obscurity. Why, because they are not prepared to re-invest in the business. Once the business going well, simple things like maintenance and periodic refurbishment is not even thought of. Then the competition comes in everybody rushes over to them, and the day in which the owner thought would never comes actually does. Back in the day Shangri-la didn’t have competition, now hotels are popping up all over the place and well if you are going to spend over $200 for a room it might as well be the nice one, where you have a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner, a room where the air-con unit is actually blowing cold air, where there is no mildew around the bath or peeling paint, I think you get my point.
Accra Mall is an example of a place that could meet a similar fate if the competition comes and blows it away. My uncle was telling me that he had some visitors from Denmark or somewhere over and he asked them to meet at the Accra Mall for lunch as it was a central point. He took them to Tante Marie for lunch, they had a few beers as you do, then one of them wanted to take a leak. They were told that it was not possible as there was no water in the Mall. No water, can you believe it. Where is one supposed to spend a penny after spending a hefty sum on beers. Even when they do have water I have to say, it is not the best, the ladies smells like a sewer, the soap dispensers are only half attached to the wall but well it’s all good as they have installed a new hand drier.
But at the moment there is no competition and it is still fairly new, I do hope that they move with the times, it just takes one bright spark with some cash to burn, puts up a place with better shops, better bars and a cinema, and Accra Mall will not be so hot a hot spot.
Take Papaye for example, I remember the times when if I came to Ghana and a relative was to take me out, it would be there, and it was always packed. You would have to queue for a while, wait an even longer time for your chicken and fried rice, but still the next time you are asked where you would like to go, it would be Papaye. Now they have chicken inn, peterpan, barcelos and then the big brand KFC. I drove past the Papaye in Tesano, a shadow of it’s former glory, paint all peeling off, it’s was like looking at an aged actress still reliving her former glory even though she is all wrinkly and grey.
Back in the day there was no real competition, but now we are competing with the West. You got to be in it to win it, but you also have to please the consumer pocket….but I’ll save that argument for another day.