by Melinda Gallo

Buying scarves and saving a Euro

Today was not a day we wanted to be outside. It was a little cloudy and windy and the temperature was around 0C. I met Dave on Ponte Vecchio this afternoon and we went looking for a restaurant to have lunch. It was so cold that when we saw a small scarf vendor, we decided to buy ourselves scarves. There were two American girls looking at all the scarves, picking through them one by one and asking the price of each one.

I talked to the guy in Italian and told him how cold it was outside. I didn't want to appear too much like a tourist especially since most locals would never buy from them. I picked an orange one. Orange is one of those colors that many Italians wear. Usually, if you travel to other countries, you can spot Italians a mile away because they're the only ones wearing something orange. Dave decided against orange and got a charcoal grey one instead.

I asked the man how much we owed him. "Ventuno Euros" he told me. I gave him twenty and said, "Isn't mine only 12 Euros?" He looked at me, smiled and said, "OK, va bene." As we left, Dave told me, "Yours was 13 Euros."

I almost felt guilty. But, I realized I finally succeeded in bartering. It was the first time I've ever done that. I usually hate to bargain to get a good price. I figure if I were to stand out in this cold weather selling items to tourists, I should get as much as I can. OK, it was only 1 Euro, but it's a start.

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