I sometimes struggle with honesty. Not in the sense that I'm a compulsive liar, but that in an effort not to offend someone I'm willing to bend the truth as much as necessary. I think it's an American thing. We try so hard not to reveal our true feelings that we end up going through all these convoluted channels and just hope that the other party figures it out. Nowhere has this been more of an issue than shopping.
India and Morocco are renowned for their handicrafts. The locals know it. The tourists know it. And so they engage in this complicated dance wherein the tourist is at a perpetual disadvantage because she doesn't know the true value of the object. (This is much more pertinent when fixed prices are out and bargaining is in). Sometimes I'm in the mood to shop and I don't mind (over) paying for something I truly like.
But then there are those other instances when a driver or guide has taken me to the shop of his "friend" and then conveniently disappeared right when said friend begins the hard sell. Getting out of the situation without me hemorrhaging money isn't always as simple as just walking out of the store, so I've fallen back on a few key phrases to help me stall until the driver returns to take me away to my actual intended destination.
"I'm a student."
Read: We both know that you won't accept what I'm willing to pay so let's just not even bother with the whole charade.
"Oh, that's really nice/pretty."
Read: I'm acknowledging the long-winded explanation you just gave me about how this was made but I don't necessarily believe you.
"I'll think about it."
Read: Okay, ready to leave.
Read: I'm so disinterested in what you're trying to sell me that I can't even come up with a decent excuse for why I'm not going to buy it.
"I'm really late for a meeting with a friend/my mom/my dad."
Read: Please get me the fuck out of here.
They really are lovely, unique items (usually) but a lot of times they're just not for me.