On Saturday we wanted to check out a big market. Not knowing which one to go to, we planned on heading to one called ‘Divisoria’. Ron called a Darryl from work and he and his wife, Alpha advised against it. Being foreign, it wouldn’t be safe, and we’d get taken advantage of even more. Not in the greatest area either. Right in Manila. So, they suggested Greenhills market. So glad they did!
Once we got there, I remembered that our landlady suggested going there for good deals on ‘brand name’ stuff. Fake brand name stuff… lol… but I’m okay with fake!
When we walked in it was a little overwhelming. It was PACKED! Greenhills market is in Greenhills mall and the market itself is actually called the ‘tiangge’. It takes up a large portion of the mall. They have clothing, shoes, toys, handmade Philippine products, and handbags… ooooh the handbags!! There were TONNES! So many in fact, that it was overwhelming. At any given moment in the handbag area, this is what I would hear…
“MA’AM! YOU BUY THIS BAG! GOOD DEAL!”
“MA’AM!! I HAVE A BAG FOR YOU! THIS FOR YOU MA’AM!!!!”
“MA’AM! HERE IS A GUCCI BAG FOR YOU! AUTHENTIC MA’AM!”
“MA’AM! GOOD PRICE FOR YOU! HANDBAG FOR YOU MA’AM! MA’AM!”
“OVER HERE MA’AM! I HAVE A GOOD DEAL BAG FOR YOU!”
“BEST PRICE HERE MA’AM! YOU BUY A BAG FROM ME!”
“PRADA BAG FOR YOU MA’AM! GOOD DEAL!!”
My head hurt….
We left the handbag area.
Ron held it together pretty well through the rest of the market. Impressive, because it was crowded and he doesn’t like crowds. We got some awesome souvenirs, and some good deals. Apparently we had the words, ‘GREAT BIG FOREIGN SUCKERS’ written all over our faces to begin with though… judging by the starting prices of some of the things we asked about. It’s well known here that if you’re foreign, the starting price of products can be 4 or 5 times more then if you’re local. Possibly even more. And it was obvious! But, we finished off with some great buys.
Then… back to the handbags.
I had planned to get a few. I’ve had a couple of you ask about picking one up and bringing it back. I had good intentions! Honest! But it was so overwhelming. Once ‘they’ all knew that I was back.. and planning to buy, I was a target. They would actually shove bags into my hands. Shout absurd prices.
They yell… “200 pesos off!!… okay 400 pesos!!… maybe 500 pesos… BEST OFFER!”
Some of them are nice… some are ugly… I try to think of what friends would like… and I have no idea. Ron is clearly becoming stressed.
“MA’AM YOU BUY THIS BAG!”
“BUY FROM ME MA’AM! BEST DEAL”
“FIRST SALE TODAY MA’AM! i GIVE YOU GOOD DEAL”
“BEST DEAL HERE MA’AM, YOU BUY FROM ME!”
I see one I like… at least I think I do… but she won’t stop yelling at me about it, and won’t stop shoving 5 others into my hands at the same time… I can’t think. She drops her price to 800 pesos.
“BEST DEAL MA’AM. FIRST SALE TODAY, SO I GIVE YOU BEST DEAL!”
It’s a ‘Prada’ bag. and it’s beautiful. It has a small scratch near the top though. She clearly doesn’t want me to see it. Every time I try to turn it to look, she spins it around talking about other features. How it is ‘authentic’. Right!
I tell her no… that I’ll think about it. I hand her back the pile of bags and she pouts obnoxiously and looks defeated at the 5 pounds of packing that she frantically ripped out of the handbags as she threw them at me. I feel a little bad….
We walk further down the isle, trying to look at the bags without making eye contact with the screaming sales people. I see the same ‘Prada’ bag. I ask how much.
“1500 pesos Ma’am! GOOD DEAL!”
Now Ron comes alive.
“What? It’s 800 pesos down there!” (he points)
“Okay, 900 pesos, LAST DEAL!”
Now I’m irritated. I know that if I was a Filippina, I could probably get the damn bag for 400 pesos. I tell her to follow me, I’m gonna show her where it was 800 pesos. She takes me up on my bluff, and follows. Shit.
As we walk towards the ‘other’ bag, I think… what am I gonna say to the other Lady? “I’m not buying yours, I’m buying from this chick, can you just verify the price you told me?” I’m uncomfortable.
Happily, I couldn’t remember what she looked like or where she was exactly. (EXTREMELY PACKED IN THERE) So we head back to the booth.
I look at Ron whose eyes have already glazed over with the thoughts of, ‘how much money my time is worth and how I should have just given her the 900 pesos…’ LOL… yes… this is how he thinks… (love ya sweetie… but you’re weird)
Anyway… I get the bag for 800 pesos… and it’s beautiful. Never had a ‘Prada’ bag. I’m so sorry to those of you who asked for a bag… I was selfish and only bought one for myself… my marriage would have been at stake had I have continued that process any more then I already did.
“Stylin’, Prada Girl” Shannon