But then, I noticed Jacob’s shirt… and boy is there a good story about his shirt. It simply must be shared.
A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday after our fellowship, we had some time to kill, so we were walking around one of the main shopping areas in Beijing. It was me, Jacob, and 3 other girls. There are these really big markets in Beijing, very popular with foreign tourists, for you can find all sorts of “designer” goods at “very cheap” prices. None of us particularly enjoy these markets, but they have some necessities (foreign sized and styled clothing) and we had some time. So in we go. We agreed to meet back in an hour, and Jacob elects to not go in the mega-market, where vendor after vendor aggressively tries to sell you “Gucci. Lady, you like Gucci!” One of the girls with us wanted a pair of jeans (asking price = 850RMB, final price = 80RMB), which she managed to get in about 15 minutes. I bought some bobby pins (asking price = 50RMB, final price= 5 RMB), and so after about 20 minutes, we were finished and went to a neighboring Starbucks, where we expected to find Jacob.
But he was not there. We enjoyed our cup of coffee for about 40 minutes and called Jacob to tell him where we were so that he could meet us at Starbucks instead of the market. In about 5 minutes, in he walks, sheepishly holding (more accurately hiding) a bag behind his back. What’s this? Jacob, who loathes shopping, purchased something?! And out comes the following story…
Evidently after about 5 minutes of walking around outside, Jacob decides to venture in the market. In he goes, with his Starbucks in hand. He makes it past a couple stalls, when a sales girl waylays him with questions about where he is from. Here is how the conversation went, and while I’m sure the order is slightly different, I made none of these things up…
Salesgirl 1: Where are you from?
S: How long are you here?
J: I live here.
S: How long?
J: 1 year.
S: You want a shirt?
J: No. I don’t need a shirt.
Jacob starts to walk away. Enter Salesgirl 2, who grabs Jacob’s Starbucks and won’t give it back.
J: Can I have my coffee back?
S: When you buy a shirt, yes!
J: But I don’t need a shirt.
S: Did you need this coffee?
J: Awkward Silence.
S: I didn’t think so. So, which shirt you like?
J: But I don’t want a new shirt. (By this point, Jacob said he was laughing from the absurdity of it all.)
S: You only don’t want it because we haven’t found a price you like yet! How much would you pay?
J: 30 Kuai (aka RMB).
S: Feigning insult and holding up coffee. Thirty kuai! AHHH you are killing me! How much did you pay for this coffee? I’ve never had it before, but I know it is expensive! Give me a real price.
J: 30 Kuai. That is a real price!
S: You paid that for coffee, and this is a shirt! Come on… give me a real price.
S: That’s not a real price. Come on. Give me $1 more (about 7 RMB).
J: 60 (Editors Note: This is where my husband really needed his wife’s assistance. You NEVER double your price in these markets without a fight!!! Especially when you don’t even want what they are selling!!!)
S: So, which shirt do you like.
J: I don’t know. My wife isn’t here, and usually she helps me pick out the shirts. I really don’t need a shirt.
S: Come on now, you are a grown man. Did your wife help you pick out this coffee?
S: Do you ask your wife when you can go to the bathroom?
Jacob didn’t even have to answer that one. In an effort do defend his masculinity, he promptly purchased a shirt. And so, my friends, the salesgirl outwitted my dear husband and he is now the proud owner of a new shirt he didn’t really want. She wasn’t dumb, that’s for sure!!
Before posting, Jacob reviewed and said that this is an accurate description of the 40 minute “bargaining” session. So, rest assured, I’m really not joking!