Wednesday, April 25, 2012

taken to the ringer

Being Westerners in third world countries has been our M.O. for the past few years.  We aren't new comers to the idea that we walk around with big dollar signs on our chests.  Bartering is part of life here in Ethiopia.  I got kind of good at in Manila. I usually got stinky with vendors that quoted me higher prices simply because I was a white woman.  More often than not I know I paid more for things than locals would.  It's just part of life. I understand that I'm still generally paying less than I would if I were in the U.S.  That's how I justified getting ripped off most of the time.

This past weekend we scheduled a visit from the dog groomer the CLO had on file at the embassy.  My first mistake was not agreeing on a price for the hair cut over the phone before the groomer got to our house and realized that we were Westerners.  Our chances of getting a low price pretty much went out of the window when she go to our three story American Embassy issued house.

We were more than slightly skeptical when she pulled out a pair of sewing scissors and just started hacking away at Lucy's coat.  Then I find out she didn't bring her electric clippers or her toe nail clippers for Lucy. She asks for towels, the dog's hair brush and shampoo.  After two hours the cut is complete. It's as short as we like it but it's the messiest choppiest grooming I've ever seen.  She used our supplies and left a black hairy mess in our outdoor sink.

Then she charges me $30.  She actually quotes me the price in dollars.  I had to ask her to convert it to Ethiopian Birr for me.  Justin just gave me the look.  We had been had.  For whatever reason Justin and I lost our nerve to bargain.  We kind of felt guilty even after the terrible hair cut.  The woman was standing next to our immense Toyota 4 runner and eyeing the girls shoes and we just handed her the cash instead of trying to cut a deal.

It might be the last time Lucy gets "groomed" by this woman during our stay in Ethiopia. I'm thinking an investment in our own grooming clippers might be more economical.  The first thing our driver asked on Monday morning is if I cut the dog's hair myself.  I guess I should have!

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