Sunday, March 25, 2012

Naïve Karalee

I was walking along the streets searching. My eyes quickly scanning the tables, the blankets spread out on the grass covered with items. Only 15 minutes. I had so much left over money. Too much (a rare occurrence)! I had hardly bought anything at all since the beginning of my time in Africa. Time to get down to business. I started with the first buyer’s small section. The lady was nice enough, educating me on all her “rare” and “exquisite” objects. Earrings for my sister. All such beautiful earrings… I settled on nice turquoise earrings made from some important rock, she informed me in broken English. I moved on down the line to the next sellers “shop.” Nothing. Then to the next. Bow and arrows. My brother already had a drum from Africa, I didn’t know what else to buy. “How much?” I asked the lady in charge. She said some outrageous price, so I brought it down to something much lower than what I'd expect to pay for it. That’s how you’re supposed to do it, right? And then come to a reasonable compromise?
“No. I give you good price.”
I told her the price was too high, and I only wanted the price I had offered.
“Ok, fine. I will lower it 5 Namibia dollars. Take.”
“No. I can find it for much cheaper somewhere else. That’s ridiculous.” I started to walk away with high hopes that she would change her mind. It worked for everyone else, why couldn’t I do it?
“Fine, fine.”
Ahhh! Good! She changed her mind! I turned back around to face her.
“Go, but you won’t find it for better price.”
“TWO MINUTES! TWO MINUTES BEFORE WE LOAD THE VANS!” Someone ran shouting down the road.
Uhhgg! How am I going to find something AND barter for it in two minutes! Shoot. I looked at the next shop, and wandered down the street searching for bows and arrows. Running out of time, and having no luck, I returned to the original “shop” that wanted too high of a price.
“Look, I have to go, so I’ll just take it.”
“No. Price goes up to original price.”
“WHAT?! No! That’s ridiculous!”
“You leave and did not take my good price. Price goes up.”
GAH!! Everyone was walking towards the vans. I paused, mad this women was playing me, and really upset that she was going to get her way and I was going to look like the American idiot. But I had so much extra money, this was our last stop to buy anything, and I had nothing for my brother yet, so I… “Ok. Fine. Here!” I shoved the money into her hands, grabbed the bow and arrows and quickly marched away. I didn’t stop to turn around and see the woman’s proud snicker of delight. She had won. I felt like such a loser. I'm horrible at this. I hate bartering. You're so naïve Karalee.
And it’s true. I am naïve. Sometimes you never know how much you really have until it’s gone. Those things you so easily let slip through your fingers. It’s those things that are usually so hard to get back.

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