Online Grocery Shopping in Lagos: Jaramall vs Mhqstore

MHQ anafricandiva


I recently started shopping online, and although I was skeptical at first, I have fallen in love with it.

One day last year, a friend put up “Your online grocery store,” as her BBM personal message and I was intrigued by the idea. At the time, I had just started the Meet the Boss interview series for so I was always on the lookout for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who could use a little extra publicity and whose founders could inspire others with their story. As a home manager, I was also interested in anything that could bring relief.

I went on the site, ordered a few things and voila! At my doorstep! I was so thrilled. I didn’t have to leave my home, go to the market and wade through a sea of humans, sweating and carrying shopping bags around, every time I needed to cook. I interviewed the CEO of Jaramall, and shopped online a couple more times before I started to long for the market again.

For one, I missed haggling. Was I really getting a good bargain? Couldn’t I get my groceries cheaper if I went to the market to “price” very well? And the free delivery period was almost over! I would now have to pay for delivery again on top everything! I went back to my “customers” in the market and that was it.

Then, one day on Twitter, I discovered another online grocery store, and once again my mind was on an interview with the founder. That changed when I visited the site. The arrangement was so different, and they had so many other things that Jaramall didn’t have (hello red snapper fish!) so I decided I just had to try them! Then a funny thing happened.

Just as I was thinking about it, Jaramall sent me a message saying they had an Easter gift for me. They delivered it- a basket of goodies! A huge watermelon, a pineapple, apples, pears, bananas, smoked catfish, lots of yummy things. Of course I was excited! I felt so grateful…and guilty. Like a lover who was planning to cheat on a good, loving partner. But I hardened my heart; told myself I just had to try MHQ Store out before the interview, and then I would return to Jaramall :p

I did just that, and here’s a summary of my experience.

MHQ Store’s variety was what drew me to them in the first place. Apart from the red snapper fish (heheheee) they had other basic things I needed. For instance, they had ponmo N200 whereas Jaramall was selling bulk, N7000. They had okra, which I couldn’t find on the Jaramall site. They offered blended tomatoes, pepper and onions in 3 categories; hot, mild and low. The whole set up was just novel, and seemed designed to really make life easier.

Then, although they were late and kept me waiting, when they delivered the girl who came was nice and courteous. I also liked her uniform (someone is running a serious business here 🙂 ) She didn’t come with their POS machine which was the option I had selected when ordering. I always do cash on delivery when shopping online, but I didn’t have cash at home that day hence my decision to use my card. So they asked me to pay into their account. Unfortunately I had issues with my online banking and I couldn’t transfer until 4 days later. They didn’t bug me even once, so patient! I really appreciated that. Soooo, MHQ Store is fantastic!

But I’m sticking to Jaramall. Why?

Jaramall anafricandiva

Simply because the 80/20 rule which applies in marriage also applies here. You can’t get EVERYTHING you’re looking for in one partner; the best you can get is 80%. The problem usually is that “20% looks pretty good when you don’t have it.”

  • First off, Jaramall won my heart with that Easter package. They didn’t have to do that, I hadn’t patronized them in months! And I needed fruits in my life!
  • Secondly, delivery. Jaramall is ready to deliver practically anytime – as soon as possible. MHQ Store has a fixed delivery period: 2pm-5pm. Now, that in itself is not bad, just that I personally prefer cooking earlier in the day. Plus, Jaramall delivers to me for N300 (down from the initial N500) while MHQ Store’s delivery fee is N1000. Enough said.
  • Then, their customer service is something else. Unlike my first order with MHQ Store which went awry (they were sending me emails which were going to spam and I ended up calling them to cancel the order because time was running out so I had to go to the market), Jaramall always calls to confirm my order. The lady who calls is always sweet. After delivery they call again to make sure everything is okay. The one time they mixed up my order and gave me two bottles of curry instead of one curry and one thyme, they came back with the thyme, apologized profusely, and next order they “dashed” me a free pack of salt. Pampered customer purring…

The most important reason however, is their willingness to become better partners. I sent them a Twitter DM about selling smaller quantities of ponmo and voila, N300 ponmo appeared on the site! Can I have smoked kote fish please? Smoked kote fish appeared on the site. What about okra? Working on it right away. They are so RESPONSIVE! They even called once to ask if there was anything else I would like to have that they weren’t offering yet.

And that, my friends, is what you should look for in a partner. Not someone who is perfect, but someone who is willing to learn, grow and meet your needs better. That’s the kind of partner you should be becoming, too.

PS: My interview with the founder of MHQ Store will be published soon, and I’ll post a link here.

PPS: The MHQ Store interview didn’t work out.



Letter to My Friend, the Husband Smitten By That Girl


Dear Friend,

I’ve been watching you struggle where this other woman is concerned. She came into your life at one of the toughest points in your marriage, and somehow she eased your distress at the time. Her understanding of your challenges only served to convince you that if the opportunity presented itself, you two could be far more than friends. Now you and Mrs. have addressed your issues and you’re both working on making your marriage better, so she thinks it’s all over with this woman who was nearly a threat. But you and I know that it isn’t. You still fantasize about her, and you would still talk with her all day if she would take your calls.

Let me call your attention to a few things.

First, a quick reminder- your wedding vows are sacred. You made them before God Almighty, and he expects you to be faithful. You know this, but in your current state you need to hear it over and over until it starts to sink in.

I recognise the strength of the temptation; she’s beautiful, smart, vivacious, ambitious, driven and passionate, and she just seems to “get you”, in a way that Mrs. doesn’t. And she is oh-so-sexy. The things you believe she can do to you, Mrs. can’t even spell. So your hair is all up in braids and you’re asking, “Where were you when I was getting married?!” even though in your case this doesn’t make sense because your sassy siren was still in a school uniform, but that’s never crosses your mind and I understand, infatuation is blind like that.

If you were in your right mind you would know that That Girl cannot replace your wife. Yet, the more you lean towards her, the greater the chances of you falling into her bed and putting your marriage and family at risk.

You want to know the truth? You are not just any man. Your wife possesses qualities That Girl lacks- and they are more fundamental to your wellbeing than you realise. You need to ask yourself,

“Does she share my faith and values?”

“Can she keep a home like my wife can?”

“Can she submit to me as her husband and head, with grace and poise?”

“Can she raise responsible, God-fearing children I can be proud of?”

“Does she have the patience and tact to accommodate my flaws and shortcomings?”

“Can she stand by me when there’s no money in the bank, and still respect and honour me?”


You think if only you were married to her, life would be pure bliss. Sorry sir; just sharing a home with her will burst your bubble. You’ll quickly be disillusioned to find that a life lived in tandem with her is a different ballgame from your perfect little world of dates, phone calls and BBM chats. You’ll be shocked by how divergent your life goals are; you’ll be dismayed by how easily irritated she can be. I could go and on, but the bottom line is, you will miss your wife.

You may not realise now what a buffer she is on your life’s journey, nor remember what an inspiration she was when you first fell in love with her and how she saw all that was good in you. All you can see is what you wish she was- namely, all the wonderful things That Girl is. You are not alone.

One of the themes in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married is what he calls the 80-20 rule. It is based on the premise that on the average, you only get 80 percent of what you want in a mate, and that’s it. Here, the allure of The Other Woman is encapsulated thus; “20 percent looks really good when you don’t have it.”

My friend, grow up. Open your eyes and rein in your lust and emotions. Don’t even think about hanging around That Girl trying to be “just friends”, she really isn’t your friend and you know you will get sucked in. Don’t throw away your 80 percent for 20; that is, and forever will be, a dumb move. I can already picture you standing there holding your once glittering 20 percent, and longing for the 80 percent that you traded in. You look pitiful.

Love, Joy.