When I shop for souvenirs, I really hate buying a t-shirt with the location name splashed across it and “Made in Taiwan” stamped on the tag. You know? I like the souvenirs to be local – made locally, supporting the local people…. a taste of the place I’m visiting. So in Cozumel, our last stop on the cruise, I avoided the in-line shops and focused on the kiosks in the middle of the pathway. Those were operated by the local folks, some of whom were creating their crafts right there in front of me. I thought I was done and we were heading for the ship when I glanced over at a leather and jewelry kiosk. The guy was hawking his wares and beckoning me in. I usually ignore them.
But then I saw the shoes.
They were leather flip-flops and I thought how much my girl would like them. Dern it. He saw me look and stepped up the push, then I asked the price of the shoes, and the battle was on. Suddenly I was in the shade trying on the shoes. He showed me they were made of real leather (this, for some reason, involved putting a flame from a lighter up against it). Then he whooshed me to the end of the kiosk and announced he would put my name on them, what was my name?
Mind you, all this time I’m asking, “How much?” He never slowed down or stopped talking. Now I said, “I don’t want my name on them.” Next thing I know, the shoes are in a bag and the bag is in my hand. I looked at hubs. “Did I get an answer to my question?” He shook his head. I looked at SuperSalesMan and asked again, “How much?”
Hubs: You want them?
Me: Not for forty. (Handing bag back to guy.)
Guy: (Putting up hands, refusing to take bag.) No! No! Thirty five!
Me: (Shaking head, pushing bag.)
Guy: How ‘bout thirty? You take for thirty.
Me: No. I’m too broke for that.
Guy: (Looking pleased.) Okay, okay. Twenty-five and cup.
Guy: (Pointing to my cruise ship lidded cup crooked in my arm. I was using it for ice water.) Yeah! You give me twenty-five and cup, I give you shoes.
Me: (Incredulous.) You can’t have my cup! It’s my cup!
Guy: But I like that cup!
Me: I like that cup! It’s MY cup!
Guy: C’mon, gimme the cup! You can get another cup! (Gesturing to ship at the pier.)
Me: I don’t want another cup! You can’t have my cup!
Guy: I like that cup! I will add to my collection. (Note: I’ve wondered MANY times since what THAT meant….) You can get another cup.
Me: NO! You can’t have my cup!
Guy: Okay, okay…. Twenty dollar and the cup and you take shoes.
Me: You can’t have my cup! It’s my cup!
Guy: How much you pay for that cup? You can get another cup! Gimme the cup!
Me: I will NOT! It’s MY cup! (Doing some quick math to see if I’m making a huge mistake. But by now it was the principle.)
Guy: Gimme the cup! Twenty and the cup!
Suddenly another voice is heard…..
Hubs: (loudly) How much for the shoes, no cup?!
Hubs: Sold! (Peels off bills to pay the guy.)
As we walked away, my blood pressure no doubt in the ozone, my adrenaline pumping, the guy does a 180, smiles and waves, calling, “Thank you! Have a nice day!”
Good news is my girl liked the shoes, loved them after hearing the story…..And I still have my cup.