Monday, December 14, 2009

Bargaining at Artyom - Friday, 27 November 2009

After the English-language library, Sophia and I headed onto Artyom, which was a short bus ride away and we probably could have walked.

I was hoping to buy Christmas supplies, but while there were definitely Christmas decorations, there weren't a whole ton and they all were expensive. A plastic tree will cost around $100. Not sure I'm ready to spend that much money.

Christmas here is New Year's. The majority of the country is non-practicing Muslim, so of course Christmas is not exactly celebrated. The Russian Orthodox Christmas is on a different date than December 25.

So it is nice to see so many New Year's decorations that are identical to our Christmas decorations. Some signs say "Happy New Year" in Russian; others say "Merry Christmas" in English.

While I did not get anything for Christmas, I did do a good job shopping in general, I think. I had wanted to buy indoor shoes for Sophia to wear at school. Most of the children change from their warm outdoor boots to cute indoor dress shoes. We found a cute pair that was a bordeaux-like color, thus matching her uniform. The man asked 2000 Tenge for them, I asked for 1500 Tenge. He then said 1700 Tenge, to which I said 1600 Tenge. He raised his eyebrows at me--perhaps surprised that the American knows how to bargain?--and sold them for 1600 Tenge, a little over $10. I still think I paid too much. He may have been impressed that I could bargain, but he still ended up selling the shoes for 1600 T.

Then we bought Sophia's dance leotard and shoes-I didn't try to bargain, the prices were cheap enough. But then we walked past a shoe store. I have been wanting over-the-knee boots for some time now. They look so warm! My below-the-knee boots keep my legs quite warm, and outside, with my coat and boots on, only my knees, fingers, and face get cold. So over-the-knee boots would definitely be good.

So I saw some really tall boots and had to pop in to see if they sold my size and what was the price. To my surprise, the pair they had out fit me perfectly! And the boots are really easy to put on (due to the zipper). Plain black, nothing fancy (I don't like bling-bling!) How much? 7000 Tenge. Wow. That's not expensive. (Under $50.)

Oh, but really, I didn't need an extra pair of boots! That was hard to communicate in Russian. The worker called his sister, who was nearby and spoke slightly better English. He also showed me the tag--9400 Tenge it said. So he had already offered me a deal.

The sister was interested in where I work, and seemed a bit disappointed when I told her that the school was only for children. However, she still wanted the school's information, which I provided for her.

Finally, I asked to buy them for 6000 Tenge, and I got them for 6400 Tenge. Hey, I wanted boots that fit me, weren't expensive, and covered my knee.

I was quite proud of my bargaining successes. Each time I shop, I get a little bit better. When I return to America, I may have trouble accepting the sticker price for items.

No comments:

Post a Comment