The Fake Market
I completed my souvenir shopping. It was exhausting. I heard a speaker on a tape say that she doesn’t really like the word “people pleaser,” and that we should use the word “self-server” instead, because that’s what it really is. Whatever you want to call it, I’m guessing that’s the quality that makes me hate haggling so much.
The fake market is thus extremely taxing. It’s a just a very difficult, chaotic, and emotionally and spiritually draining place for me. People accost you from all sides trying to sell you things. Nothing has a price tag on it, and I don’t really have any idea of how much one ought to pay for any of this stuff. Fortunately, I had my wife in contact with me via wechat and the phone throughout the process. That helped bolster me. Her reassuring talk after the fact helped a lot too.
Regardless, I managed to get out of there having gotten everything on my list and going just slightly over budget. I got some decent items for 12 or 13 people for about 230 dollars US, including 3 fairly nice big ceramic tea sets, 3 carved stone stamps, a calligraphy set with ink pot and other accouterments, a cashmere scarf*, a wooden chess set, a couple of cans of tea… maybe something else. My wife had said to keep it under 200. I probably should have paid a total of 120 dollars for what I got, but all in all, I feel like I escaped relatively unharmed. Getting ripped off bothers me, but getting taken for 100 bucks or so isn’t going to ruin me. These vendors quoted me at least 3 times the amount I ended up paying for everything. I hate haggling. Ugh.
Regardless, the task is done, I had a long nap, and it’s time to put the whole experience behind me. Let’s see what sort of excitement the Alano Club has in store for me tonight.
*I doubt it’s actually cashmere, but who knows. It felt kind of cashmere-y I guess.