Friday, April 20, 2007

the market

I love shopping. Shopping of all sorts. Clothes, shoes, accessories, groceries, furniture… Beg me long enough and I’ll even go help you pick out shingles.

I also love getting really good deals. You tell me you like something I own and I will promptly quote you the price I paid for it with a gleam in my eye (either that or you’ll hear, “Thanks, I paid way too much for it.”).

I’m one of those people who, when I find a defect in an item I am think of purchasing, I smile, quickly tuck the smile away and look for a manager. Attack commences immediately. First you must find something unique about said article so that none else can replace it. Second take much time fingering defect with a look of disgust. Start pondering, out loud, how you could go about fixing it and just how much trouble it will be, and how much extra it will cost you. By this time most normal managers will be quite willing to hack a minimum of 10% off the price if you, in exchange, will be willing to accept the purchase as a final sale. (Note to those who plan to put this strategy into practice: It doesn’t work at Winners.)

However, even though I love shopping bartering is beyond me. I, who paid an astronomical $5.00 for 2 fake precious moments figurines at a garage sale. My mom was disgusted at that purchase- apparently I hadn’t been watching her closely enough. To those of you who hate going to restaurants with me because of my passion for a deal (Jess) - go with my mom sometime. She’ll embarrass you to a far greater extent than I could ever hope to! She’s one of my role models!

So let me set the scene. Fifty stalls spread out in a meandering pathway sort of deal. Each shop is selling roughly the same things. Approximately 2 men are loafing about per stall, watching every move you make. You pause for more than a millisecond at any given item and they pounce, “Madame, do you like this bowl?! Yes?! You are my first customer so I give you local price!! I need money for transit to my village. What is your offer? How much can you pay?” I respond with, “No thanks.” “NO?! You like these animals? These masks? These baskets?!” And they keep going until the guys in the next stall have out drowned them with the same script.

Now these men I have just described are the nicer ones. Eighty percent of the men don’t even bother waiting for a spark of interest. They start right into their sales pitch, moving through every item in their inventory until they hook you or you have walked past their booth.

The actual bartering. A real challenge as how does one evaluate an item taking into account local currency, time spent and artistry. I’m afraid I got royally gypped but I had fun being gypped!

1 comment:

Mr T said...

I have my video camera on charge. I want to film the reaction of the stallholders in Edinburgh when you ask them for a local price. I may have to turn the sound off!

So how many animals did you shoot on safari? There is a glass case at Glasgow airport full of crocodiles, snakes, elephants tusks etc that were confiscated from tourists. You have been warned.