If you are a regular reader of materials from this platform, then sure you must have come across numerous materials I have published in the past to enlighten students on the challenges of school fees loss. If you are not a regular reader, kindly refer to the links above to checkout my previous works.
One thing I have always believed in is enlightenment. Proper education helps individuals to overcome challenges which may hinder them of certain progress in life. The same thing happens within the students’ community. Both freshmen and returning students needs adequate information before hand. This advance information helps them to do the right thing, use best and trusted services to ensure they avoid problems in the pursuit of their career.
Emerging issues on my desk often impel me to write. Just recently, I had an ongoing case of a café personnel who had personalized over an estimated N1million of students’ school fees. The case is already with the Niger Delta University school security.
Again, I had a request of someone who lost her 100 level and 200 level school fees to café personnel again. This is just one of several other cases against this same person.
It is very heart wrenching that these issues keeps on re-emerging despite experiences from victims being told everyday. One thing is always sure, proper and continuous education will do the magic, hence this continued reminder.
The Psychology of Café Losses/Fraud
Why do more and more café personnel find themselves as stumbling blocks to students’ career pursuits through loss of students’ fees in their care? The reasons below present hindsight on many of the loss cases amongst café personnel:
1. Financial sagacity
Many café personnel do not have the financial insight, financial sagacity public money handling competence. Most of these café personnel are youngsters who just either finished university or senior students struggling to meet ends.
Whence they have money in students’ fees gathered up in their account, they can easily feel they have arrived and go on a spending. Some starts living large, furnishing their houses without understanding they are falling into what I will refer to as a “business trap”.
I have come across many of these set of café owners. Sometimes, you wonder what they actually have that such an amount of money is credited to as loss to them with such a small business outfit.
2. The Natural State of Money
Money is a very bad thing. Bad here is not referring to money as the root of all even but the valueless nature of it if not well handled. You can be praying to have N20,000 in your account this minute – that if you do, you will declare yourself as a cubana of Africa. But guess what, you now have N50,000 but you don’t know how you spent it.
That is just money for you. If you do not understand how to spend money, you are gone already if people’s money is kept under your care.
3. Zero Record Keeping
Most cafes do not have any form of record keeping. Customers just pay them and they keep the money in their pocket. In the past, I had a friend who always deny that a customer did not pay him money. This was when we were still sharing office some years back. The reason for this is a poor record keeping practice. Without such record keeping, café owners are unable to identify that this money is mine and that money is business money which CANNOT be expended. Since such understanding is not there, issues are bound to happen.
4. Separation of Business Money from Personal Money
Did you know that if you take a survey of café profits in your area, you will not lay your hands on any tangible records of deposits, expenses and profit and loss of many cafes? The challenges start from here. Many small café owners don’t know how much they make a day. Hence, they cannot really fathom the extent of expenses they can make.
Since students’ school fees can be stalk in a business person account for days or even week, all such monies can be calculated as income by a business owner. The shortages are felt after so many expenses are made from fees deposited and the time to make such payment by the student(s), the fees is already used up or half of it is gone. Café owners MUST try to extricate their profit from business money.
5. Lack of Backup Funds
It is a professional and expert advice that businesses who are offering financial services have backup funds to help sustain their operations. In financial transactions, losses are oftentime unavoidable. Sometimes, accounts can be hacked and monies cleared. At other times, several online payments can experience hiccups and payments may be unsuccessful.
When this happens, café owners should have backup funds that they can relate to for financial assistance. These backup funds can be in the form of membership in cooperative societies for the purpose of accessing loans, personal savings in a dedicated account devoid of online transactions to prevent access by fraudsters, good personal understanding with wealthy friends whom can be consulted for financial aid when the need arise.
6. Business Catastrophe
Café outfits may also fall into losses when catastrophe strikes. For instance, on January 3rd, 2020, there was a fire incident besides Main Campus gate, Wilberforce Island, Amassoma as a result of trash burning which was close to a wooden shop. Many café offices suffered loss as a result of the incident. In times like this, students’ fees with café owners can be used to sort out issues until business bounce back.
Additionally, pandemics like the Covid-19 is another case that can expose cafes to fall into loss. In fact, the number of cafes that fell out of business during the pandemic was alarming. There were news of some who committed suicides, fell critically ill, got arrested, all as a result of mishandling of students’ financial transactions.
Hmmmm. In my local parlance, we will say “and the ogakpatakpata of them all” is gambling. I hereby declare that if you know any café person playing gamble like merry bet and their likes, run for your life. Do not look back, avoid the person totally. A friend of mine will always remind me how he only refers students to my office to do business but will never refer to others because they play gamble. He noted that if they use students’ fees he referred to play gamble, he will also be held responsible as an accomplice.
This particular friend, the CEO of Kelrich Educational Publishers actually helped me see this dark side of café owners. Truly, a gambler cannot be a banker. He will play gamble with all the money in his care all in a bit to make a lifetime jackpot in one bet. Little wonder they are all out of business.
There are several cases of gambling issues here and there but cannot be referred to. But be sane enough to avoid any known gambler who owns a café.
Extravagance will kill you before your time but you will never know it. An extravagant person will spend without reasoning and recourse to earning. He drinks publicly and will not mind declaring closing the bar for friends. He pays for all just to show the little he did not even have. He spends way above his means.
Some that are struggling to meet up in like already have ACs in their home while senior folks who have numerous landed properties don’t even have one. What is wrong with this my generation? The mentality of wealth creation is low amongst many.
9. Financial Mishaps
In café operations, money always get missing one way or the other – some trackable and some disappearing. It is possible to make a payment online, the recipient did not acknowledge while your account has been debited. If this continue to happen to you with delay in recovery period, then be aware that you will face challenges from customers who paid you money but are least aware of the challenges you are passing through in their transactions.
How Students Can Avoid Possible Mishaps
As a student, you can avoid financial mishaps when dealing with café personnel in paying your school fees and charges. The following are ways to help identify issues that you should avoid:
- The weight of the business centre: Do not make the costly mistake of following just anyone you see along the road to pay your fees. If you do, you are on your own. It is not true that they cannot do your work well but issues may start emanating from poor financial settings with no single policy put in place to protect customers payments. Check out for well established settings who are serious in business and with good policies in dealing with customers.
- Pay and get your receipt immediately: It will be better to transfer money to the café personnel and get your receipt immediately. Ensure you receive email notification from NDU that the fees was paid to avoid cases of fake receipt. Otherwise, use your smart scan to scan the receipt after payment.
- Avoid Cheap Work: Avoid anyone telling you that they will use a cheaper fee to process your school fees and other charges. You may just be on your way to loss. In the past, cheap services are used to lure students and in the end, they get fake receipt or nothing at all. Most of my customers would come to me regretting being cheated because they were lured with cheap services and got fake receipt. This is happening every time. Try to avoid it.
- Avoid Haphazard Businessmen: When you see the appearance of some persons alone, your conscience should push you to avoid them. Their appearance is haphazard, unkempt, reflect someone who won’t keep records properly, etc. Use your sense to identify and avoid them.
- If you see a café personnel playing gamble, avoid him. Don’t see fire and still put your hand inside. Gamblers are never satisfied. Until they hit or lose everything, they don’t stop.
Suggestions for Café Personnel
- Engage in some financial training. Knowing how to keep public money is an asset for café services.
- Money can be spent in your care without due accountability. Try to be accountable at least, to yourself.
- Record keeping is also an asset. Record keeping by cafes should cut across all spheres of their operations like customers’ records, financial records, etc. These records, if well managed brings in more money in the long run.
- Learn to spend money based on what you earn. Once you mastered this act of spending based on recorded profit, you have conquered business failure.
- Join cooperative societies, save monies from your profits, make friends with colleagues and have good financial understanding. You will help yourselves in times of needs.
- Natural disaster can occur. Save ahead.
- Avoid gambling. Run away from it. You are better off with it. Let your profit be enough for you.
- Look at your pocket before you spending. Extravagance will kill you. Spend within your means
- If you pay money online that have hiccups, follow them up as soon as possible.
One of the reasons why I am always writing for both students and café owners is that when issues happen, the emotional stress on both parties is huge. Some café owners are not particularly fraudsters but losses just occurred unexpectedly due to lack of record keeping. They felt since money is in their account, all is well. But when demand for payment by customers hit, their balance soon indicate that there is fire on the mountain.