While I am being generous with the word "girl" I am just a person from small-town anywhere trying to survive the culture shock of "Asia-Easy". Well, it ain't that easy, but then again, it ain't that hard to survive where there is no snow, shopping galore and food every 5 metres. Singapore, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand, educate this prairie girl.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Garage sale..Singapore style
This is not the first time I have sold everything I own, and something tells me it will not be the last. I believe there are a few more moves waiting in the wings before we put down permanent roots somewhere in the world.
When R2 gets the moving bug, nothing is safe from an online posting site that sell the strangest items. It was when I saw him heading for my enormous shoe closet with the camera, a well-flung slipper nailed him and his red Canon, stopping him in his tracks. Some things are sacred, and to me, I have spent a large percentage of my life hunting down the perfect texture, the right heel and the correct shade of black for every outfit. Back away from the high-heels and no one gets hurt. Those 250 pairs are coming with me, even if I have to smuggle them on the plane by wearing five pairs through security.
How we love technology in Asia
Singaporeans are among the world's most voracious users of digital media so it is no surprise I am refereeing bidding wars via smart phones, tablets and computers. When I started posting my items, I had no idea my phone would be buzzing, whistling, pinging and chirping all sorts of messages. I couldn't keep up. I could write a book with all of the hilarious texts and messages I received. Keep in mind, Singapore is an English speaking country, but most of the offers are in Singlish so it often takes two or three replies to figure out what the people are asking me.
"Your blow up mattress, blow, can? If blow, want, lah. I like your photo, you pretty Mizzus." This was one of the first messages I received, and from there, it became more difficult to determine. I am translating and filling in the missing blanks once I used my special decoder ring to figure out what the locals wanted to buy from me.
"Can vacuum ride on bike with me?' One of my favorite questions and yes, he did pull up on a pizza delivery scooter and rode away hoovering as he cleaned off into the sunset.
"You make me good price, you make me good, lady." This was on a fifty cent spatula; how much better can I make the price? I threw in some free slippers I enjoy stealing from hotels for guests to wear in the house. Hey, don't judge; wearing slippers on the house is something I learned from my Japanese friends. You never now what evil lurks on the bottom of your shoes, walking in the local Kampong.
"Hey lady, you have ten foot palm, selling, lah?" was one inquiry. "How tall?" "Is it palm?" This one had me in stitches and shaking my head. I received this message while riding and I had to stop the bike for fear I would fall from laughing so hard. I am not sure what part of "Selling Ten Foot Palm" was not evident in my ad.
I sold everything so we cook with fire now
Honestly, I can't make this stuff up. "Does your popcorn popper, make popcorn? Does your blender, blend?" As for the rice cooker inquiry, I can't even go there. Let's just say, rice cookers make rice and you fill in the joke.
R2 hates when I sell our almost new items. If he had it his way, he would open the window and heave everything out, letting the people below think it is raining washers and dryers. I, however, am from small town Saskatchewan and making a buck is what I know. He leaves the room when the potential buyers come, he cringes when he hears me chatting them up, asking questions about their lives in Singapore. He shudders when I ask how long they have lived here, or about their children. He just doesn't care. He is of the mindset, open the door, shove the goods in their hands, grab the cash and slam the door in the poor soul's face.
"I would like to take your almost-new, front-loading, energy-efficient washer-dryer set from Germany that you paid an arm and leg for, but I want a quick-bargain deal and if I have to go on any stairs, I am charging you," was one comment. Am I mistaken or was I the one selling the item? I am being charged for moving from a penthouse elevator, straight down the lift to the car park in the basement? What is wrong with this picture? How do I end up paying for the man's delivery when I have cut the price by thousands of dollars?
He could use my mattress
"Your King sized mattress, is that a Sing King, UK King or a Queen? Is it latex, can it fold, can I come and sleep to test, are you single?" I am close to my boiling point by now, and googling like a maniac for Women's Shelters in need of gently used items so I don't have to put up with crazy questions anymore. Leave me in peace so I can continue my quest for the next country to move.
Through all of my electronic selling, I met some interesting people too. People that started to read my blog, people that were quite thrilled when I gave them special deals on items and threw in a few free plants and cactus and even a media mogul that allowed me to drool on his BMW convertible while he checked out my goods. I hope slobber comes out of the Nappa leather. I hope he enjoys his spatula.
Overall, it was another amusing experience to chalk up to Singapore living. Maybe R2 has the right idea, open the window and drop everything overboard and yell "Heads up" but I doubt that phrase makes sense here and with my luck, I would crush a few of the tail-less cats, on the way down.
My next flat, condo, casa, villa or casita is going to be made completely of stone and plastic with a wash basin outside and the old-fashioned sun to dry the clothes. No irons, no skillets, no flippers and definitely no more selling. I wonder if I can get some stock options in paper plates and plastic forks because I think that is going to be my new way of life. Now where is that atlas, I need to find a country.