11 Feb 2009
Markets and Haggling
I did some gigs in Asia recently so spent some time shopping at markets. I’m not really sure why. I find markets very stressful. All that haggling. They say: “Best price for you 100” and I say: “Oh gosh that sounds like a lot.” They say: “No, is good price, is best price.” And I say “Oh well, gee, I guess if that’s the best price, then okay, 100.”
I do, however, admire the positive attitude of market stall holders. In Hong Kong I walked past a woman who shouted at me to “Buy this duck lady!” (I should just clarify, she wasn’t selling some freakish duck lady as in a half woman/half duck, she was imploring me, the lady, to buy a duck.) Now that to me represents sheer hope and pure optimism because what in god’s name would I want with a duck? I have no idea if she was proffering it to me as a potential pet or a potential meal, either way, I was quite clearly a tourist. Therefore I was highly unlikely to have the facilities or permission to transport a live duck back to my country of origin. It seemed even less likely that I would have the equipment or set up in my hotel room to slaughter and hang the animal in order to prepare myself a duck supper. And yet still, she urged me, buy this duck, buy this duck.
In the end, obviously I did buy the duck because she offered me a good price, her best price actually. I call my duck Phil, he still lives in Hong Kong due to visa and avian flu constraints, we talk on the phone regularly.