November 16, 2008

Can I Help You?

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 10:59 pm by Jenn

Scott and I went to the store today to pick up a few things for me to make dinner.  I told him that I wanted to go to the market by the house first and then to the New New World Market.  He didn’t understand why I needed to go to two markets instead of just one.  I explained to him that the market by the house had everything I needed except for buns (for grilled italian sausages).  He was still confused why we didn’t just go to the New New World Market since they had everything I needed.  I told him to trust me, that we weren’t going out of our way and it was well worth going to two markets.  The market by the house is a local market.  Most of the people who shop there are locals which means the prices are cheaper.  The quality of the vegetables is great and the store is clean.  New New World on the other hand is VERY expensive because a lot of expats shop there.  They have a lot of western brand products and people are willing to pay the price so they sell for high (ridiculous) prices. 

For example today at the market by my house I purchased 4 peppers, (2 orange, 1 red and 1 yellow) for the price of 80 Qapik (approximately 1 US dollar).  Today at New New World the same peppers were selling for 4 manat 80 qapik to 7 manat.   That is 6-7 times more expensive and the market is further from my house.  The peppers aren’t imported either.  They are locally grown, but people buy them because they are in this western style store.

This New New World is the store where I usually shop with my girlfriends.  I buy some things here but not too much because I do my shopping several times during the week at the local store.  The New New World is nice though because you can shop and the store personnel don’t follow you around the store, aisle by aisle, scrutinizing your every move…except for today. 

When Scott and I walked in the store today we went to the cold section first, just browsing.  I pointed out the 8-10 pound turkey for 50 manat ( around 60 US dollars) and as we were discussing the turkey this teenage boy comes up and just stands there on the other side of the freezer staring at us.  I walked away, thinking he was going to ask for money, but Scott said “can I help you?”  I didn’t hear the kid respond because I went to the back to grab the buns I needed and then wanted to look for Vanilla Wafers for a friend.  As I was looking in the cookie aisle this same kid came up and stood right next to me and started looking at the same product I was looking at.  This really pissed me off.  I mean the reason I like this store is because this isn’t the treatment I usually get.  Who the heck is this kid?  I ask him “What do you want?”.  He looks at me and says nothing.  I told him to get away from me. He just stared like a deer in the headlights.  Finally I had enough and I told him “до свидания (goodbye)”, and shooed him away with my hand”.  He understood that and took a few steps back.  Then I lost it…”до свидания (Goodbye!)!”  “GO AWAY”.  I don’t know if he understood but I just kept talking.  “I do not need you to help me shop.  I do not WANT you to help me shop and I DO NOT WANT YOU FOLLOWING ME!  GO AWAY!”. 

The regular manager who I am familiar with was not there today, but I will make sure to tell him the next time I see him that I will not be shopping in his store any more if this is the way I will be treated.  If I need help I will ask for it…until then, LEAVE ME ALONE!

This city is crazy!  On Friday night Scott and I took some friends who are in town to dinner down around Fountain Square.  We finished dinner and were walking through Fountain Square to get some dessert when a little beggar girl approached our friend.  We have seen this girl a number of times.  I’m sure her mother or father are somewhere close by watching her, telling her who to approach, but I’ve seen the girl with adults other than those she is asking for money.  Josh just ignores the girl and keeps walking and then the little girl does something that blows my mind…she grabs hold of Josh’s arm and won’t let go…he’s still walking, practically dragging this little girl and she is saying in Russian “Please, Please, Please”.  We can’t believe it.  This NEVER happens.  Then out of nowhere another little girl grabs hold of Scott’s arm and starts doing the same thing, “Please, Please, Please.”  It’s awful, but of course I took a picture.  Scott and Josh must have walked for a good 30-40 yards with these little girls attached to them.  Quick, check for your wallets!


You can even tell by looking at this picture (even though the quality is bad) that the little girls are HANGING on to these guys.  Josh is on the left, Scott on the right.



  1. Chris Moran said,

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Jen D said,

    Oh my goodness Jenn…I don’t even know what to say. It’s gut wrenching to see these girls ‘working’ for their families…the store is another story, I am hoping your next destination is better.

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