Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shopping Here vs. Shopping There

There are a few things I will miss when we finally leave here. On of them is "shopping." [NOT!] And not the "going shopping," part, because I absolutely abhor that aspect of shopping, here. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I have to don myself in a full-length black hefty bag to leave our compound when the temperature outside is close to that of where water boils. If you've got a list of things you need to get accomplished, you better have a driver that knows his way around and speaks English well enough so that you can explain to him that you are putting the route in his capable hands so that you can get all that you need to get done in one fell swoop. Because you will only have from nine or so in the morning - some stores don't open until ten - until eleven-thirty; at most you have two and a half hours to procure whatever items are on your list - at most - it's more like an hour and a half or two. This time frame leaves little room for "haggling." That is the ONLY thing I will miss. You can bargain at the stores - with some exceptions - the mall stores for clothing and make-up items are not where you go to "haggle." But if you are looking for gold - the gold shops will all bargain with you; as will the higher-end furniture stores and even our "Sears," here, will bargain with you. We got our cook top for SR1900 when the marked price SR3200. Try that with Sears in the States. Ditto for Pier 1 or Home Goods. You will be the laughing stock of the store for sometime. "This blonde came in this morning and saw two lamps that she wanted. They are marked $49.99 each and she only wanted to pay $35.00. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!" It doesn't happen that way in the States.

I listed
some "stuff" that we don't need anymore on our company-wide internet "classifieds," here and am just amazed that whatever price you ask for something you get offered half - or less - than what you are looking for. I have some lamps I'm selling - they just don't go with our bedroom and we don't have a "guest room" in this house where I could put them. I got them at Home Goods and I paid $49.99 for each of them. [Geez. I felt like it was a deal at the time. They are interesting. They looked good in the bedroom we had in the States. They offered terrible light for reading and I am an avid reader. I'm over them.] They are in excellent condition. Not a mark on the shades or scratch on the base, of either of them. I put them in our classifieds for SR200 for the pair - I'm not going to even consider selling them separately - too much of a pain in the ass. SR200 comes out to $26.80 for each lamp.

Should I be asking more for the items I want to sell, knowing that everyone here pretty much wants something for nothing? Should I have put the price on the lamps at SR300 and then let whoever decides they want to buy them talk me down to SR200, which is the price I want, anyway? I did not have a problem with the mirror - the woman that wants it called and said she'd pay the price, sight unseen since I hadn't posted a picture - but she wanted me to hold it for her. She came to give me a deposit. I wouldn't hold anything without one. You want something one day and the next you're not interested. I am the one that said I'd give her a discount if she got my MRI scheduled for me. She called, today, by the way, and said, "I thought you told me you needed an MRI on your knee." "I do." "Well, they have it on the system as an MRI for your ankle, so you need to have that fixed, and we can get you in her next week." [I'll be at the clinic terrorizing every department I get sent to until I can get that little fuck-up fixed; let me assure you that by the time I return I will NOT be in a pleasant mood!] The point, however, is that not everyone assumes that you are going to be willing to give your "stuff" away, but the majority of people do. And, yes, I will be keeping this in mind for future reference and posting the prices of everything up so that when people insist on talking me down they'll think they are getting what they want, when it will be what I wanted all along.

In the me
antime, this guy calls me the other day about the lamps. He says he wants them and says he won't be able to come until this weekend to get them, but he wants to know if I will hold them for him in the meantime. Nope. First come - first cash - first served. Sorry. So he asks me how much I want for them. "The price is SR200." "Will you take less." "No." He calls me the next day and says he will probably be able to come sooner than Thursday. Again, he asks, "how much do you want for them?" "Yesterday I told you SR200. The price is the same, today." He called me AGAIN yesterday and said, "I will be there at five o'clock tomorrow. How much do you want for the lamps?" "200 Riyals. Just like I told you." "Are you sure that you will not take less?" "I'll give it some thought and perhaps we can discuss it, but I really want 200 Riyals for them - I don't have to sell them. I am not going to give them away." "Yes, yes." I started making dinner at five o'clock. Figured he'd be here between five and five-thirty and knew we weren't going to eat until after six. Dinner took a little longer to make - a lot longer to make - than I thought it would and I was still cooking at six-thirty and it wasn't quite done - and the phone rings, the guy is on his way. Figures. I'd already written him off as a no-show - but no, now he's showing up just in time for dinner. I'm not particularly pleased about this, but whatever.

DH and I are eating when the Kids announced that we have company [no need to ring the doorbell - you are within twenty-five feet of our house - we KNOW you are here!]. I lock the Kids in the kitchen with DH and open the door and the man and his wife [mother? sister? daughter?] are standing there and I invite them in. The lamps are right there on the table. And he says, "Oh I thought they would be bigger from the picture." They are bed-side table lamps not floor lamps and the picture I posted was pretty clear... "They are not enough for 200 Riyals. I will give you 150 Riyals." "I am asking 200 Riyals and I won't take 150 Riyals." He and his female-accomplice mutter something to one another in Arabic while she shakes her head up and down and then back and forth and then up and down. The man says, "We were just downtown and I saw lamps..." I cut him off. "Fine, buy your lamps downtown." "I do not want to pay 200 Riyals. But we would like the lamps." "I am not giving the lamps away and I am keeping them until I get 200 Riyals." He, glumly, says, "Well, okay then." And I show them to the door. Thanks for wasting so my time, pal, and for making my dinner go cold! He really thought that as he was getting ready to leave - the "bluff" of the sale - that I would say, "Oh. Okay. 150 Riyals." Nope. Didn't happen for them. They actually hesitated at the door, waiting for me to do that, thinking I would be that desperate. Well, I'm not. K'G'Bye. Slam!

Yes. As I said earlier, there are a number of places you can bargain and haggle over the price of goods to buy. Home Center - a low-end furniture, bedding, household goods store - is NOT one of them. Neither is Kika. I don't know where else I'd send someone here, for "inexpensive" lamps. There are some gorgeous lighting stores here - gorgeous - and I know when we first got here and I was looking to replace the hideous chandelier that was in our dining room at the townhouse I found one at one of the lighting stores - it was SR5700! [I have a great knack for being able to walk into a store - any store - and immediately fix my eyes on the most expensive item there - honestly - without ever seeing price tags I can do this - I just write it off to having impecible taste...] $1,528.00 for a light. Honestly, though, it WAS more than a light. It was art. But still. I couldn't justify that price. The man there wanted to make a sale - he offered it to us for SR5500, SR5300, SR500 and down to SR4800 - this process took close to an hour - that's the way it works here and that is why I said your two hours of alloted shopping time in the mornings do not leave room for this kind of shopping. SR4800 is still $1,286. Yes. That was a bargain. And if I was building my dream house in the States I WOULD own this light; I would have to have it. My dream house isn't this one, the one we're living in, or the townhouse before this house, and I don't have the light. And I bet the man and woman that came to my house tonight weren't shopping at one of the beautiful lighting stores. They want something much more affordable. But I'm NOT going to give them my lamps. Such is life.

And, I have learned a valuable lesson. If I want to sell something on the company's classified website, then I am going to "reasonably" mark the item up so that when the time for "haggling" and "bargaining" comes it wont' be a total waste of my time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter