Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Holiday: Morocco: Fes (carpets)

After the tannery, we approached a carpet shop, thinking that we were only going to look around and maybe come back the next day if we liked something (this may have been a furnish-our-house trip, too...).  We even had a plan to get out - one of us would get "sick" and have to go home to "lie down" or something.  All I can say is that carpet sellers fall for nothing.
The second we got in, we saw a beautiful rug - one that looked like a piece of the sky - and another gorgeous one higher up.  My parents, who have lived all over the world and know how to bargain, looked at a bunch of other ones first, bargained for a while on those, but eventually we got around to the ones we loved, and the price went back through the roof.
We spent hours in the carpet shop, my parents (who are total pros at this) choosing some top price and communicating telepathically and steadily talking the guy down.  I was really really impressed, and eventually we walked away with the two carpets and three little rugs (not sure why he included those, but okay) en route to the States.  It was probably around five or six by then, and time to hurry back to the house to get ready for our next stop...
In short, the carpet sellers in Fes know what they're doing.  They know how to bargain and come back to you again and again, to subtly hint that those rugs won't be there in the morning, to keep you trapped in their shops forever (one can "lie down" on piles of  rugs, as it turns out, if one is "ill").  The key is to know the most that you will pay for it, and then get it down to your optimal price.  You need to decide in advance  - and then practice like crazy for a while before people will believe you.  I can't bargain for the life of me, as every time someone brings up the fact that their children are starving (is it true?  I don't know) or insinuates that you, being a Westerner, could pay way more and they're just trying to make a living, I break down.  But my parents and my brother are excellent bargainers.  Have you been to Fes?  If so, did you get caught up into buying a carpet?  When in a country where bargaining is the norm, do you bargain?  Are you good at it?  Let me know in the comments!

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