Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

American Price March 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 2:32 pm

I’ve been on the look-out for a pair of cute shoes for awhile.  Every time I walk to Immigration, I pass a little market where vendors have all sorts of random objects spread out on broken-down cardboard boxes along the path.  The first vendors one comes to on the way to Immigration are the shoe vendors.  One man has all women’s shoes lined up neatly on cardboard.  The next has men’s shoes.  The next children’s.  Most of them are used, donated from North America.  (I used to think they were stolen but have been told they legitimately come from donations sent to Africa from America.)

Today I stopped to try on a couple pairs.  One pair fit well and was cute, so I asked the price.  Here is the conversation that followed:

Vendor:  380 ($15)

Me:  Ha!  (handing the shoes back)  Why are these shoes so expensive?

Vendor:  Okay, 350 ($14).

Me:  No!  So expensive!

Vendor:  Okay 300 ($12).

Me:  And if I am Mozambican.  Then how much? 

(Much laughter from surrounding vendors watching this interaction.)

Vendor:  No, no, this is Mozambican price.  You think I make American price?

Me:  Yes.  It’s true, you do.  I want a Mozambican price.

(More laughter from surrounding vendors and repetition of phrase “Mozambican price”.)

Vendor:  But look, it’s leather.

Me:  Yes, it is.  They are pretty shoes.  But they’re not new.

Vendor:  But look, they’re only a little bit used.  In America these cost $100.

Me:  (laughing)  $100?!  In America I can buy used shoes for $3.

Vendor:  $3?  No.  They are $100.

Me:  Thank you very much.  They are pretty shoes, but I am not paying this American price.  (Walk away to continued laughter and sounds of the phrase “Mozambican price” from other vendors.)

Now I’m on the look-out for a pair of cute, Mozambican-priced shoes.


5 Responses to “American Price”

  1. John Hubers Says:

    Ah, so we taught you well the ways of the souq!

  2. APN Says:

    **Jen shows off her keen bartering skills, honed by years of diligent shopping in a variety of American and international thrift stores, much to the delight of the vendors in Mozambique**

    And it’s true — I’ve seen many a pair of used shoes on sale for $3 at Buffalo Exchange in Houston, TX.

  3. Rachel Says:

    Ha! That made me laugh. I usually get a combined local/american price if I walk away…somewhere in the middle. Were you speaking Portuguese? Sometimes that helps! 🙂

  4. jhubers Says:

    Yeah, this was all in Portuguese. I went on the weekend with a Mozambican friend to the big market to go clothes shopping, and she made sure we got Mozambican prices, although I didn’t actually find anything. I’m treating myself to shoe shopping in shops tomorrow. Amazingly the shops have cheaper shoes than this guy was charging.

  5. Rachel Says:

    Good luck shoe shopping – hopefully you’ll find some deals there (or at least better than the street guy).

    Hey, what is blog etiquette? Can I list your blog? I don’t know what the etiquette is so I am holding off now…! I think blogging is the most exciting thing I’ve started since…I don’t even know. Facebook. Although there is limited flexibility in FB, so this might actually win.

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