Sunday, March 26, 2006
The salespeople here have an interesting technique: they stand right next to you and stare at you while you rifle through the garment racks. Sometimes I realize I'm directing more mental energy toward ignoring the shopworkers than I am toward looking at the actual goods.
Yesterday I encountered an even more dubious strategy. I stopped at a kiosk selling Indian shirts at Blok M. The woman running it immediately came over and said "We have XL!" Then she pulled a few really enormous shirts off the rack and held them up. They don't teach you that one in your Gap training session!
The picture is of some t-shirt salesmen at Blok M. The sign over their heads says "Broken Price!"
Blok M is the biggest market in the city. It's so central, it has its own bus station that all the bus lines go to. It's sort of like a cross between a suburban mall and a tag sale. Basically, they took a whole bunch of street vendors and packed them into a big warehouse-like building. It's a crazy stew of loud pop music, loud Arabic-sounding music, loud people, fried food, cheap clothes, and brightly colored toys from (where else?) China. I didn't even feel much need to shop - just walking around was fascinating.
Of course I did shop, though. I bought a t-shirt with a view of the Manhattan skyline from across the river. The slogan says: "On other side very a nightlife grasp." I couldn't have said it better myself. I think Chad is going to put some other Chinglish (or the Indonesian equivalent) from Blok M on his blog, Indo Stories, which you can link to from the right side of this page.