I have lived in Kenya since 2011 and used to live across the street from YaYa Centre. It is a lovely little vertical mall with several shops, restaurants, book shops and ATM machine that I use regularly.
Today I was quite chagrined to find that YaYa installed metal detectors as the doors over New Years, and the guards now insist that you empty your pockets and let them stick their hands inside your backpack or purse in order to enter. They force you to put your cell phone, wallet keys and money in the plastic tray and walk through the metal detector, where you cannot watch your belongings. Other customers are milling about and it creates an ideal situation to have one's phone or wallet get lifted by a guard or a bystander.
When it was my turn, the guard asked to open my backpack, and I told him he was welcome to feel it from the outside, but not to open it. This made him angry and he insisted that it be opened. I told him no and was refused entry.
No bank that I have ever been to subjected its customers to such indignities. I don't see why entering a shopping mall should be like entering a prison. Metal detectors certainly don't make anyone safer as the Westgate tragedy proved.
While all customers desire to have a safe shopping experience, having the guards open your bags and look into them is a violation of my personal security, and an invitation for theft by the guard or a bystander.
Rather than have my bags and person rifled through, I would prefer to shop at Prestige or Junction and I recommend others do the same. YaYa Centre's security screen is offensive. No other mall in Nairobi subjects its customers to such indignity.
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