Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Fake Bag Brigade

My friend K is currently visiting me in the Big Apple, and our plans of museums and shows were quickly thrown out in favor of shopping.

K is pretty much a shopping professional and digger, whereas I tend to wander around aimlessly hoping something will jump out at me.  Knowing that I had K by my side I decided it was a good time to walk Canal Street in search of the perfect fake bag.

In the past, and really every other moment besides shopping, I am the boss.  When traveling with K, I am the one who tells her where we are going and what we are doing.  She happily follows along with no complaints and I think actually enjoys my stern leadership.

How the tables have turned.

I do not like (a) crowds (b) people who yell and (c) bartering therefore Canal Street is like my version of hell.  I was surprised to find that there are actual store fronts housing the fake goods, I sort of expected the bags to be on tables in the middle of the street.  I was also not prepared for the people who walk by me and whisper 'Chanel Gucci Prada' as if I was some sort of designer drug addict.  So because of all this overkill on my senses K had to lay down some ground rules.

#1 Separate your cash and only have small bills.  

#2 Don't actually show interest in anything

#3 Pick an amount you would pay for an item and do not pay a cent more than that.  If they won't do it, just walk away.

Got it.

Oh, and she said we needed a code word to tell each other we liked something.  I suggested the phrase 'I want steamed buns' because we were in Chinatown and I did, in fact, want a steamed bun.

I suggested we should also have a code word for 'let's leave' so that we knew when one of us wanted to leave.  She told me to say 'let's leave'.  Right.  Got it.  Sometimes I over-think things.

I was terrible.  Really terrible.  Firstly, when I saw something cute I exclaimed with a little scream.  The price went up $10.  So K made me leave that stall and reinforced our code word and the rules. 

Again, when I saw something cute I would yell out 'I want a steamed bun!' which made the store people look at me like I had turrets.  When K looked at me holding a bag with the woman right next to her and said 'how much do you like this bag' (once again, the less excited the less you pay), I smiled, nodded, and said very loudly:  STEAM BUNS.  The woman caught on.

K also has no problem leaving when the price she wants is not given to her.  I kept apologizing and explained that I would get in trouble.  Plus they yell at you.  I kept saying 'sorry' and K kept telling me to shut up.  As we left one store, the woman screamed at us for wasting her time and that we were ungrateful for her deals.

I have never seen K take such a leadership role.  She calmed me down when I would hyperventilate at the crowds or at the enormous selection (I also don't like too much choice).  She cooed to me to go slowly, just take it all in, then focus on the colours I like and next the shapes.  

But after an hour of this, it was time to leave.  I felt relieved not only in that I would be able to breath again, but that I would once again be the boss in the relationship.

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