Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A Lesson in Bargaining
Today I got a lesson in bargaining. I went to the Masai Market, which moves around from place to place each day of the week. Today it was in the parking lot of a mall called City Centre. Fortunately, I had the company of an African, Elizabeth, who is the mother of Anne, my friend from Beverly. Without her I'm sure I would not have fared very well. I am naturally drawn to textiles, and I spent a lot of time looking at different types of African cloth. There are handwoven pieces, both tie dye and wax print designs. There are traditional Masai colors and patterns, baskets woven of all kinds of fiber, soapstone and ebony sculpture, paintings and batik images. In short, there is some of everything. The tricky thing is the price. Most of the time I pointed out what I liked, and Elizabeth negotiated a price. On two occasions, we decided that the price was too high. Both times we walked away, and were followed with offers far below the price from which we walked. The bargaining involved a lot of talking, laughter, jokes. I think it would be really fun if I learned how to do it. But I was clearly only a novice today.