Why are most tailors dishonest?
Published On April 22, 2023 » 1226 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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IF there is something more vexing to the people who take their clothing materials to the tailors, it is to find the materials not yet attended to after going for collection on the promised day.
In many instances, tailors have been known to have differed with their customers for not being truthful about their wo
Many people, especially women, have complained that most tailors were not honest because each time they took the materials to them for tailoring; they found that the tailors had not even cut the cloth to start working on them.
What was most irritating was that there were times that the women took materials to the tailors to make attire meant for occasions or functions such as marriage ceremonies like weddings and the tailors could not make their required dresses on time.
On Saturday last week, I went to a tailoring shop where I took a trouser for a zip to be fixed for my school-going child.
It was around 15:00 hours when I went to this tailor’s shop and I found three women seated on a bench waiting for the tailor to work on their materials which they had taken there.
While the women were waiting, the tailor asked me what I was there for and when I told him I had brought a trouser for my son to have a zip fixed, he quickly got the trouser and told the women that they excuse him to quickly work on the trouser I had taken because it was a small job which would not take long to work on.
“Lekeni mbilile batata aba baleya, kacito akanono akakubika zip (Let me sew for this man so that he can go. It is small job to fix a zip)”, said the tailor as he got the trouser from me and I could see the facial expressions on the women that they were not pleased.
It was before the tailor could start working on the trouser when a man and woman walked into the shop.
The tailor looked at the man and woman I later came to learn were a couple and asked them to take a seat.
“Mwaiseni ba mudala naba mayo. Ikaleniko apa nalamimona nombalinefye (Welcome big man and madam. Seat here, I will attend to you shortly),” said the tailor in a voice which sounded tremulous.
“Awe tatuleikala. Bushe tekutupelafye ifyakufwala (No, we are not staying. Are you not just giving us the clothes?),” the woman responded.

For a while, I saw the tailor fidgeting on his seat. He then started fumbling in a carton box full of materials and after extracting the materials he was looking for, he showed them to the couple.
“Nalaputula insalu nganapwishafye ukubika zip pe toloshi ili. Ndolelenikofye panono (I will cut the materials when I just finish fixing the zip on this trouser. Just wait for me a bit),” said the tailor.
I saw the woman make a face and grinned at the tailor.
“Imwe batelala,bushe muli serious?Kuti mwaputula insalu twaletele two months ago mubile nokubila leloline? Awe mukwai, insalu nomba yenu. Mwalatupelakofye impiya twashitilemo neyo twalipile iyakubilishisha (You tailor, are you serious. Can you cut the materials we brought two months ago and make the attire just today? No please, the materials are now yours. You will just give us the money we spent on buying and reimburse what we paid you for labour),” said the woman.
This was interesting and as an eavesdropper, my ears were aroused and wanted to hear more.
I was waiting to hear more when the tailor made an excuse that he could have finished working on the dress for the woman and shirt for her husband on Wednesday last week, but he had gone to Lusaka for a funeral and only came back on Friday.
The tailor told the woman that making her dress and a shirt for her husband was not a problem as he would finish working on them before knocking off at 20:00 hours.
“Nalabombela pelaya lyenu mayo ne shati lyabamudala mpaka mpwishe before 20.00 hours. Kuti mwaisa senda mailo kuma 07.00 hours. (I will work on your dress madam and a shirt for the big man until I finish before 20.00 hours. You can come and collect tomorrow around 07.00 hours),” said the tailor in a shaky voice.
On hearing this, the woman’s husband who had been quite all along joined in and told the tailor that it was not possible that he would be able to make the dress and shirt within a few hours when he had failed to do it in two months.
Then the man started explaining to the women and me that he and his wife brought the materials in February to make a special dress for his wife and a shirt for himself which they were supposed to wear at his young sister’s wedding ceremony which was to take place the following day (Sunday) and they had paid what he had charged them for the work two months in advance.
“He is saying we should come and collect the attire tomorrow, but tomorrow is my sister’s wedding and there will be no time for us to come here. In fact, we are not even supposed to be here today because we are supposed to be busy with the wedding programme. He just has to give us the money for the materials and what we paid him to do the tailoring. The materials have no relevance now,” said the man.
His wife chirped in and said two weeks ago, she had come to see the tailor in the hope of collecting the attire but he told her to come the following day because he was doing some finishing touches and yet that was not true because he had not even touched the materials.
“Nalimicinchisha ukuti kwashelefye inshiku ishinono wedding ukufika mufwile ukubila. Mwanjebele ukwisako kuno pa Monday nomba nshaishileko. Lelo ni pa Cibelushi nokubila tamulabila! (I emphasised to you that there were only a few days remaining before the wedding and you should make the clothes. You told me to come here on Monday but I did not come. Today is Saturday and you have not made the attire!),” complained the woman.
As the tailor seemed to be dilly-dallying, the man grabbed him and threatened to take him to the police right away if he did not give them the money for the material and labour.
It was then that the other women joined in to complain that the tailor had done the same to them and he was always asking them to come back tomorrow.
“Bushe ninshi ba telala abengi babelefi (Why are most tailors like this?),” wondered the woman.
As the problem seemed to be escalating, I picked my son’s trouser and walked out to find another tailor.
Indeed, why are most tailors not honest!
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