Friday, April 23, 2010

Cat's FINAL Guest Post: Shopping for Self

Megan is good at encouraging “shopping for self” as she puts it. She has a knack for justifying purchases like no one else. If I didn’t know her better, I’d think she was getting a commission on cow horn bracelets, glass bead necklaces and an assortment of gorgeous fabrics.

Here is an excerpt:

At Toi Market (This place has bargains so good it makes the Goodwill look like Bloomingdales)
Me: “Do you think this will fit?”
Megan: “That top is 5 bop [seven cents], of course you’re going to get it.”
I purchased that shirt for 7 cents. It had a tag from the GOODWILL with a purchase price of $1.49.

We’re looking at bracelets (yet again):
Megan: “You might only be here once”
Megan: “You’ve wanted one of those for so long”
My thought: “have I?”

Megan also has a vision for each item; loose waists can be belted, awkward sleeves can be cropped, if a shirt doesn’t have the right form or fashion a blazer or necklace can right the situation. In any case “it” should be purchased. Toi Market purchases and their subsequent tailoring is truly Megan in her element.

Another favorite:
Me: “but this ring doesn’t fit”
Megan: “that is because you have been walking around; your fingers are swollen”
Me: pause
Megan: “It is 50 cents; when I got my first horn ring I wore it for almost a year”
I make the purchase.

We are in a silversmiths shop in Lamu:
Megan: “But you don’t have anything else like that”. . .
My thought: I probably have over 40 necklaces AND THIS IS A NECKLACE

At Kitangela Glass:
Me: “But Megan I don’t need Champagne flutes”
Megan: “You can’t get crummy ones half off at Ross for less and these are one of a kind”
Me: A look that says you've got to be kidding me
Megan: “Plus you love Champagne”
Me: “Ok, I can always give them away as gifts if I feel really guilty”
I made the purchase.

If she is not appealing to the part of your brain that will go for great deals and “good investment pieces” (mind you, I was not raised to consider a retail purchase an investment) then she switches modes with no decrease in effectiveness. Megan is on a mission to save the world one accessory at a time. . . as if I needed to tell you, she is succeeding.

The Masai are a tribe known for their beautiful beaded jewelry. A swarm of “sales people” are stationed at every border, safari stop and tourist trap. You hear the phrase “looking is free” more than if you spoke it into a feedback machine and mixed it. In week two when they were trying to sell us our 10,000th bracelet:
Megan, “this is the only way for women in this community to have any independent earnings.”
I was getting fed up and had a I’ll-scratch-my-way-out-of-here-I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-this kind of attitude. Let’s just say we dealt with a lot of hard sells. Megan meanwhile seems happy to entertain every offer. I’m not sure if its respect, patience or another redeeming quality I’m lacking, but there is clearly SOMETHING . . . hmmm. . . its not a bracelet. So anyway, “looking is free” but buying numerous brick-a-brack African dust covered trinkets is not.

At one point Megan was hoping to find a goat skin rug . . . instead she got two sheep skin rugs to which she is allergic.

We pull into a turn out on the highway that overlooks the Great Rift Valley. We’re just stopping for a quick bathroom break but there are little shacks with items for sale.
Me: I’m out of patience.
Megan: “Get a little something. In all likelihood no one has bought anything here all day”
Me: “That is because they are selling crap Megs”

Let me be clear, I trust Megan and although I generally don’t enjoy shopping I enjoy shopping with her. She has never steered me wrong or encouraged a purchase I didn’t end up using and enjoying.

Although I would not be one to encourage impulse buying, I was amused when Megan purchased a Barack Obama Scrabble board (it was either that or Jesus). She even got me to play, which is no small feat (I have extreme difficulty with spelling and abhor the shame and anguish a game of scrabble indefinitely brings). Megan proved her persuasive powers extend beyond shopping for self. . . hopefully the purchases she encouraged did some good and will come in handy . . .


Montana Short's said...

This all make perfect sense to me!...she is her Mother's daughter! :)

Phillip Homer said...

Cat, you should have seen all the little baskets I came home from Kenya with. Not to mention all the World of Good presents my friends got following last summer's trip to the Bay Area...

Maryanne said...

He he he....this is totally funny. Megan, hmmmmm. lol.