Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Little Bit Moor...

It was our last night in Essaouira so Simon and I decided to do a spot of shopping. A couple of nic-nacs to remind us of our trip. We had sort of put this off until the last minute because of the afore mentioned fear of haggling. Would we be taken for fools or indeed simply make fools of ourselves?

Shopkeeper number one immediately went on the charm offensive as we approached. He smiled. He welcomed us in. Sat us down. Let us sample all his wares Made us tea. And joked about England, football and Morocco. And before we knew where we were we were ordering this, that and the other paying his asking price. He did thrown in something for free but I think that was because he was feeling sorry for us. We were new to this game. D'oh!

Shopkeeper number two I was more wary. I ignored his offers of seating and tea. And I had a trick. I asked the price of something. Then offered a slightly lower price. When he looked doubtful I said I'd buy four (yes, four) of them at that price. He looked bemused and then beamed and the deal was done. I walked away with the distinct impression that I can caved in way to early and been fleeced again. Double-d'oh!

The final shopkeeper we bought from was a woman. She flirted outrageously from start to finish in full collusion with a man who was hovering all the time, presumably her husband. But they were in for a surprise. I'd wised up by that point to the shopkeepers' tricks (twelve hungry children to support, dying mother and father, sick goat etc.) and found her flirting funny rather than beguiling. I also had two big advantages - I was happy to walk away if the price wasn't right (a trump card believe me) and unbeknownst to them I understood what the woman and man were saying to each other while we haggled. They were asking each other in French whether they needed to go lower or not to secure the deal. They didn't realise I spoke French but at a crucial impasse in the to-ing and fro-ing when they saw me looking at their lips and suspected I might understand them they switched to Arabic. Ha! Those three months of Arabic classes I took earlier this year paid off handsomely. I understood them. You should have seen the look on their faces after the deal was done when I thanked them for their business first in French and then in Arabic! As I paid I remarked how I felt I had still been robbed blind (I had only got them down to half their original price), but at least I'd been robbed by the most beautiful woman in the souk. They laughed. You see, I can flirt too missus!

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