Funny short story/Shopping from Nightmare
Every shopping experience is exciting in some way, but there is no comparison to shopping in Bali. Balinese people are born with genes for trading. Our children were born with genes for buying. New research shows that we could control that “buying syndrome” with proper education, so it is best to avoid various retail outlets such as street stalls. Despite that, we couldn’t wait to shop in Bali.
Merchants in Bali are the most abundant people in the world whose beatific smiles make you feel guilty if you don’t buy anything from them. Aura and Pia did not have to wrestle with such feelings. Clearly and very loudly they knew they wanted big, colorful hats because they felt they would die from the heat. In such a situation, we didn’t ask how much it cost. After all, everyone will agree that the life of a child is priceless. I see that other parents are also like that.
When a boy in the middle of the beach in Bali began to shout that he would die of thirst, his parents immediately went to the nearest resort, which also proved to be the most expensive. They urgently bought a water without asking for the price. In this resort (we know from our own experience), a glass of water costs $10. I don’t even want to think about what tragedy would have happened to the boy without drinking that expensive water. When our girls grumbled that it was so hot that they would die from the heat, it seemed reasonable to buy those hats at the first booth. Who could think of money in such a critical situation?
We later found out that bargaining is commonplace in Bali and that prices can go down to 90 percent, so instead of 100,000 rupiahs, their hats could only cost 10,000 rupees. My husband, who was an economist, calculated our significant loss. “Don’t buy anything without me anymore,” he warned me sharply.
I fell in love with some beautiful brown overalls of that universal size that suits almost everyone. This time, I didn’t miss the opportunity to ask about the price.
“120,000 rupiah is a universal price, but for you, only 100,000 rupees.” “90,000?” I started practicing my bargaining skills by cautiously lowering the price little by little.
“Deal,” she immediately accepted.
“Uh, it wasn’t hard!” I proudly told myself.
And as I almost paid, my husband popped up with an incredible offer, “50,000 rupees!
“No, that’s too little,” she complained.
“50,000 rupees and no more” He refrained with this offer, fighting like a lion for that lower price.
“No, that’s too little,” she repeated.
“Start slow moving away, and you’ll see,” he whispered.
And he was right. Already after five steps, we heard a voice, “Deal! 50,000 rupee for the overalls!
“Here, you see,” the bragging expert said.
“If I didn’t go in, you would have paid double for this piece of cloth. Don’t buy anything without me.”
But the devil never sleeps, opposed to my husband who can fall asleep wherever he is. As soon as she fell asleep on the beach, I went to the stalls with the kids convinced that we should all learn from our mistakes.
Unlike children who already have a list of ten things that they can’t live without, I could only look for a few hours. I didn’t know that there were unspoken laws in Bali that say whoever gives hope to the merchant that they will buy something, and eventually not purchase, will be persecuted for days and nights.
My eye stopped at one bag that I dared to roll my hands over. It was not just giving the merchant hope that I would buy it, it was also a sure sign that I would not go anywhere without that bag.
After careful consideration, I concluded that the bag was not very good quality. I didn’t ask how much it cost, but the answer arrived anyway, “80,000 rupees, just for you.”
“No, thank you,” I said. I took the children’s hands and started to get away. After five steps I heard, “70,000 rupees, just for you.” I kept walking resolutely, remembering the words of my husband, “Don’t buy anything without me.” “60,000 rupees, ma’am, only for you.” Now the merchant was running after us with the bag. She wore several bags in case I changed my mind and decided to choose another one.
The children and I started to walk faster without looking back. “I’ll give you two bags for 50,000 rupees.” Another voice was heard now. I looked up and saw two women with their bags running after us. I could run away faster, but my snail-paced kids slowed me down. I was almost without breath when we got to our beach. We managed to escape. Of course, they must have returned to their stands, because who will sell if they are not there? “Mom, those women with a lot of bags are behind that tree,” Aura noted. Now there were three of them.
My husband immediately noticed what it was all about. “I told you not to go shopping without me. Just ignore them,” he suggested tactfully. I didn’t watch them for half an hour, and I already forgot they were there. “Mom, they’re still waiting for us,” Pia said. “Just ignore them,” my husband kept repeating calmly.
He always has simple solutions in complicated life situations. I had no choice but to listen to him. If I had listened to him before, this pursuit wouldn’t have happened. After nearly two hours, the women with the bags disappeared. I sighed. Now we could go to lunch and everything would be like it was before, I encouraged myself. We sat in the restaurant for lunch. The kids and husband were so hungry that they didn’t notice anything except the food.
I distinctly saw four women with their bags standing and watching us. I already thought it was just an illusion and continued to eat when I heard a voice, “30,000 rupees for two bags. 40,000 rupees for three bags. Please calculate what is better to buy, two for 30,000 or 3 for 40,000?” I ordered my economist-husband to figure it out quickly. “Just ignore them and they will leave,” he said calmly. “50,000 for four bags,” they cried as my soup cooled. “Just ignore them I tell you, and they will disappear!” the expert repeated. Instead of disappearing, they came to the table while we were eating.
They now offered seven cloth bags for 120,000 rupees with a smile that was no longer unconditional. “Just ignore them!” he insisted. Ignoring people never solves problems in life. You have to face the challenge. So I bought all the bags. I just wanted to stop this harassment, I wanted my old life back, to see our children play in peace again, to eat like ordinary people, to walk freely and happily in the streets. If that cost a million rupees, let it be. I’m not sorry. Now we’re happy again. I did not buy anything more in Bali. I handed the bags to friends and relatives. And those women with bags that are born with persistence sometimes harass me in my dreams.
If you didn’t laugh enough already, you can try reading other funny stories by Mom the Muse.