April 12, 2008

Spring Cleaning & Bargaining

I'm knee deep in organizing and cleaning the apartment. You know how once you start you can't stop? I call it "The Cleaning Inertia". You get so much done and it's far more painless than you think it's gonna be. For example, today I switched out all our winter for summer clothes and put the winter stuff in under bed storage, cleaned the fridge (I keep stealing peeks at how great it looks!), cleaned the bathroom, all before making dinner!

I'm thinking the key is to just start. After procrastinating for many, many days, it feels amazing to cross this stuff off my To Do list. I still need to deep clean the kitchen, catch up on the never ending laundry, and wash the couch cushion covers, InshaAllah, but I'll think about that tomorrow. After all...tomorrow is another day!
Ahh, Bargaining. It's just a fact of life here in Egypt. You have have HAVE to do it. Salesmen/women here expect it and give you a higher price off the bat. I learned this the hard way after paying the quoted price and thankfully, one of my Egyptian friends set me straight. She was all "Don't say a word or take out your wallet till you bargain first!" I actually had a few people give me too much change when I just paid what they asked. I guess they felt it wasn't right to charge too much and felt bad. How great is that?

Well, now I am getting pretty good at it. You've really gotta mean business and even start to leave sometimes. You can't act too eager about anything you want to buy. Look around and browse about. Its give and take, and some might compare it to a game! If you are a foreigner, you'll get an even higher price so don't be fooled, let them know you know the item goes for a lot less. They want to make a sale and they will usually meet you at a much lower price than first quoted. Of course there are some shops that have fixed prices and usually they have a sign up saying so, but most places are up for a haggle. It's kind of a thrill, really.


  1. I love bargaining, unfortunately my lack of arabic will keep me from being a pro in egypt for awhile. But once I get it down, I'll be golden.

    And I know I blogged about feeling nervous, thinking I'll always get ripped off as a foreigner. But I just don't think I will. Becuase I will leave and keep looking if I don't get the price I want, so I think they'll haggle with me no matter how strong my accent is.

    oh, and cleaning.. I don't like it. lol.

  2. Anonymous6:30 PM

    Asalamu alaikum,Years ago when i first started to travel to egypt.[early 90's]I bought a watch to wear that had numbers in Arabic[wahid,itneen and so on]so i could shop and know what the prices were.Now as far as haggling over the price,i am a faliure.I am too shy to do that.Alhumdulilah i now have a hubby that does just fine with that. Umasiya

  3. That's a good way to think of it, Molly, just make sure you ask someone,maybe your husbands family how much you should be paying on average so you have an idea what's fair.
    UmAsiya, clever about that watch! I too if I'm with my hub, leave the bargaining to him, as he is far more convincing...same with egyptian women.

  4. Anonymous6:21 AM

    Hi Mona,
    I've seen you in action and you can beat me at a bargain anyday! Its alot of effort and ya gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run... sorry got carried away.

    Spring Cleaning is actually exciting to me. I love that Spic n Span feeling when everything is fresh and clean and in it's place...Man I gotta stop watching The perfect housewife...lol....love Eman

  5. Eman, you crack me up! Thanks.

  6. Anonymous10:20 PM

    I'm crackin' up! You Go GIRL!



Thanks for commenting!