Here in Dubai we have regular malls where the items are all of a fixed price, and also areas where a bit of haggling is expected. I find myself regularly in an area called Satwa - it is near the children's school and Ella and I regularly while away the odd hour while waiting for Oliver to finish school.
Our experiences of haggling are varied - sometimes successful, sometimes not. I went to the "pot shop" the other day to buy some plant pots (no, not the smoking variety!) and came away having spent £50 on two very large plant pots. I was fairly pleased with myself - I felt I had haggled relatively well (down from £75) and was happy with my purchase. I then returned home, where him indoors got a bit annoyed that I had spent so much on pots . . . . however lovely they may have been.
"You have to remember", I said "I'm walking into their shop, driving a very large new car and am accompanied by a little English girl in a private school uniform. There is only so much discount they are going to give me." Tim nodded in agreement, probably wishing he had gone instead!
On a different occasion, Tim then went to buy some plants on the same street - he walked away with some cracking house plants for about £20. We were very pleased, so a few days later, I thought I would go back for some more. It didn't matter how much I pleaded, cajoled, flirted even, I couldn't get the same plants for less than £30. This was getting frustrating.
The final straw for me was going to get keys cut. This time, I thought I would keep Ella hidden, so I parked the car outside the shop with her inside, made myself look as scruffy as possible and sauntered into the key cutting shop. "Hello, how much to have keys cut please" I asked . . . . . "madame", came the response, "normally they are 5 Dirhams each, but for you, your keys are special you see . . . . . . . the price will be 10 Dirhams each"
It appears that I just don't have the face for or the knack of haggling! Tim can do the shopping from now on!