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“At 23:56 on 23rd October 1963, Zambians rose in reverence of the Union Jack, the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom, for the last time as it lowered, signifying the end of British rule in Zambia.”

― Precious Mwansa-Chisa

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I have had a great deal of fun picking on things that are sold online in some of my previous articles. There are always ridiculous items available for sale and the person who thought about them in the first place is either a genius or an idiot. I think the latter is truer in most situations. It also seems like the only reason for their existence is to ascertain the IQ of the person buying, because I believe nobody would buy any of that stuff if they saw it in person.

But what is surprising nowadays is that I have been seeing some really weird and funny stuff being sold on shelves in Zambia. One may have noticed that there is a certain demographic of people who have been opening many outlets offering highly economical goods, imported from a particular nation. These stores have popped up everywhere in all main cities and provide for some good, soft on the wallet binge shopping.

In my many work travels, I always spare a few wandering moments in these stores to get something I have never seen before or ever thought I needed before, for a few kwacha. I’ll highlight a few interesting finds below; yes you can actually buy these somewhere in Zambia, mainly Lusaka and Ndola, by exchanging some of your hard earned kwacha in a straight bill producing transaction.

The first product I noticed is called “Child Anti Lost Strap,” all yours for a cool K55, plus free plastic bag. Having been in Zambia for many years, it never occurred to me that small children could be such a problem to warrant a product that was meant to physically control them.

Not being a dad yet myself, I imagine that this product is meant to keep your children from eluding you and running away. Literally keeping them on a leash. It is a coiled cord (like the ones on a landline phone, only of much bigger size and strength) with very strong velcro straps on both ends that go around your child’s ankles. I bet you’re wondering how a cord will keep a child from running away, so I decided to read the amazingly written instructions on the back of the box. Somehow, beyond the ridiculousness of the product, somebody did put a lot of engineering or logical sense into this.

When you run, your strides are much bigger than when you walk or doodle around. Longer strides allow you to cover larger distances and hence you end up covering more distance in lesser time. The length of the cord, including the coiled portion is only long enough to walk comfortably, but on an attempt to run it would reach its maximum stretch and limit further movement, hence ending in what I would imagine is quite a bad face first fall. But you would have managed to make sure that the child doesn’t escape, lol.

Before you question what I was doing in this aisle, I was just browsing. Further down the same aisle, there was a follow up product. In case your child was born Usain Bolt and managed to go beyond the elasticity of the “Child Anti Lost Strap” don’t you worry. Welcome to “Child Tame,” this can be yours for only K78; quite a bargain. The name itself is very explanatory of the fact that this is not for normal naughty children. This is for children who are certified wild and need a lot of domestication. I am sure the man (I really don’t think women would come up with this nonsense) who came up with this doesn’t have a clue about how children work or even how children are made.

I am sure all of you are familiar with ankle weights. This is similar but instead of being filled with sand as usual, its compartments can be filled up with any liquid that your heart desires. It says on the packaging that with this product you can “Put the weight back in ‘Wait right here.” You have roughly 2.5kg tied around each ankle of your child when filled with water.

Of course if your child doesn’t respond well to reasonable treatment then you can start using heavier liquids to make sure that movement is restricted. Your child’s favourite milk shake might have a new carrying container. But in the end, I think you are just giving your child some serious legwork and earning yourself a kick between your legs, Van Damme style. That day you will realize how expensive K78 can be.

Not to worry, if you think the above products will not work for you and you still go through a lot of trauma with your children just being children, then there is another product in the market that will solve the issue for you. But this time it is not to do with children. There is a famous saying, “if you cannot solve a problem, enlarge it,” or maybe I came up with this.

There is a new bottle made of plastic that can carry water. This bottle is roughly the shape of your iPad and maybe twice as thick, with a turn cap on one end. I do think it is quite genius and also pretty sure it is not meant to carry water at all. It is meant to carry inebriating liquids that will help you forget that you have a toddler at home who can never be domesticated.

I will vouch for the product though, as it is a well-made one. It has been accompanying me to my office in my laptop bag every day. The build quality of the neck and cap is especially excellent, it gets opened and closed several times a day and I don’t see any give at all.

Just to top up this amazing product I also recently bought a bright red T-shirt which says “I’m all that and Dim Sum.” Get it? Okay, enough shopping.

Dooderonomy will resume later, until then goodbye.

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