Egypt: February 2015
One day, we went to a papyrus, jewelry, and textiles shop. We had seen enough of those already, so we expressed no interest in staying. Our guide told us that we needed to stay a little longer because of something to do with our driver. That wasn’t entirely clear. So we went back in and looked at jewelry. I put a couple rings on but put them back and walked away. When I came back in to see what the other two girls were admiring, the jeweler kept trying to sell me the ring that I favored. Typically, I don’t wear rings, but it was a neat design.
NOT ONCE did I ask this man to lower the price, but every time I said no, he went down again, and every time he did so, he was so dramatic like I was completely screwing him over. Every time was the final offer. In the end, I had to just laugh and I ended up buying the ring just for the memory. I know he still made a bit of money off of me (I paid roughly $30), but as I’ve come across before, he obviously needed that $30 more than I did.
Kyndall found a couple pendants that she really liked. She only wanted a ring, I believe, but the jeweler talked her into purchasing a set. He turned it into a pair of earrings, a necklace, and a ring. He was firmer on his price with her and kept telling her that it’d be one-of-a-kind, as they do. Kyndall paid and the shop keeper would have the jewelry delivered to us before the end of the evening.
She experienced a lot of buyer’s remorse when we got back to the cruise boat and she saw essentially her same set in the jewelry shop. At least she has a memory, though.
Now here’s what bothered us… As we left the shop, our tour guide was very insistent that we not tell our driver how much we paid for our purchases (why would we tell him anyway…?). This started to feel sketchy. As we waited for the jewelry, we decided we didn’t want to pay to enter another temple. It was lovely from the outside. That’s all we needed. Our guide was, again, very anxious about our driver.
We didn’t understand what the issue was… WE decided not to go in… But our guide kept on us, telling us that needed to say we DID go in, because why else would it have taken so long? For some reason, he did not want the driver to know that we were waiting for the jewelry to be delivered.
When we asked the jeweler on the boat about this later, he said that it’s because of the commission our guide would receive. He suspected that if the driver knew what we had paid, he would report that to our guide’s superiors who would make him pay taxes on his commission.
Maybe that’s it, but maybe it’s not. Regardless, that was one bizarre shopping experience.