I am heading towards my tailor’s shop this morning. After three consecutive times of failing to fulfil his promise, I hope he gets my shirt done finally. Last time, his excuse was about some knitting. Before then, it was about something else. These are some woes many have to endure each time they patronize local products!
In Ghana, a typical tailor will easily pass for a politician. Don’t ask me how. They keep reneging on their promise. Although almost always busy, nothing ever gets done at the stipulated time. If your tailor doesn’t give you the back-and-forth treat each time they’re to provide a service for you, trust me, they’re not the typical Ghanaian tailor.
The attitude of this crop of professionals is a perfect reflection of how we perceive work in this side of our world… and how such affects our final product or service. To us, little is enough. Excellence is not really our thing. We are in haste to get paid but not ready to do what we are being paid for.
Growing up, all we see around us are products of mediocrity. Almost every service we come across have fingerprints of shoddiness all around it. Our roads are as substandard as our politicians. Our educational system is toyed with as much as every other system. Here in Ghana, little is enough and it somewhat reflects in even the work we do.
Mediocrity is king when it comes to local products. It is only in this part of our world that an excellently-packaged local product or service becomes a wonder. People are actually amazed to find a locally-manufactured product that fits international standards. We are a people who have been raised to see mediocrity as the norm and excellence as the eighth world wonder!
It’s great to advocate for patronage of made-in-Ghana products but the multi-million-dollar question is, “Are they worth our money?” It’s awesome to have Ghanaians support our own but the question no one seems to be asking is whether or not we may still need to buy foreign products at the end of the day because the local ones are not of any much quality.
While we encourage people to support our own, local content producers ought to be encouraged to shun mediocrity, too. Nobody buys a product because it is Ghanaian. They buy it because it meets their need!
As we urge patronage of our local products and services, we need to let our local manufacturers know that nothing ever beats excellence. If their products are not giving us value for our money, our money will eventually look out for value and fetch it― whether local or foreign. Nothing ever beats a valuable product or service!
We should take our packaging seriously if we want to be taken seriously. We ought to regard our content with all excellence. We can’t make products of little quality and expect Ghanaians to consume such, whatever the case may be, just because they are local products. Unless a product is forced down your throat, only value will attract you to get it; value of content and packaging.
It shouldn’t always be that Ghanaian banks’ ATMs never work. It must not always be a Ghanaian movie if we can’t get either the head or tail of the story aside all the bad acting and bad picture quality as bonus. If it’s a noisy song with almost no message, it should not always come from Ghana!
When the emergency lines are never active, it should not always be our police service. At least, of all our problems, we should be spared of mediocrity of some politicians. We should be spared of this “little is enough” plague. Enough of the mediocrity!
Mediocrity is a plague we need to fight in all spheres of this nation. In church, little is not enough. In governance, there’s no such thing as little being enough. Each day should be an improvement on the previous day’s output. Each day should be a bold step towards getting things done best.
There’s no way to boost productivity in the local industry when excellence is taken for granted. It will only be a rant if we are advocating for patronage yet silent on excellence. No man will buy a product that doesn’t meet their need. Every buyer has a thirst for excellence. It is the duty of the manufacturer to quench that thirst.
Each of us is a manufacturer however you look at it. If you are providing a product or service, you are meeting a need. If you work to make a living, you are a manufacturer. You have a challenge to move beyond mediocrity. Simply, mediocrity is having something done worst when it should be done best.
I promise not to be consumed by the plague of mediocrity. If anything should be done, it should be done the best way possible. While at it, let me start heading towards my tailor’s office. I won’t allow him to be a victim of this plague. Haha.
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com).