How to Stay Street Smart

If anyone ever offers to give you a used laptop or a refurbished laptop on the street for free, don’t take it! It could have any number of viruses on it or anything! The things that you can run into in a big city are innumerable and if you can help it, should be avoided at all cost. There are all kinds of people who are wanting and willing to take advantage of unsuspecting people in cities. If someone were ever to come up to you on the street and try to hand you such a laptop, it could either mean that it was stolen, or has viruses on it, or is a bomb of some sort. Those sorts of things happen all the time on subways and stuff where they are extra cautious about every brown paper wrapped package they see.

Now, street vendors are a completely different deal. They are generally not out to wreak havoc unto the populations, but are merely on the street trying to sell some of their merchandise. Although, despite their seemingly good intentions, you still want to make sure that the thing or things that they are selling to you are worth the price that they are asking. Sometimes, the items that they are showing you are not as good a quality of product that they may first appear. You do not want to fall victim to one of their scams, nor do you want to ever be taken advantage of. Take your time and exam the product. Turn it inside out, look through it, check the zippers and buttons to make sure you are getting what you pay for. Instead of standing by the wayside and letting them take advantage of you, you need to be able to barter and to try to wiggle the price around a bit to fit your budget.

While I was in New York City on a band trip this past spring, we were able to go into China Town and do some tourist shopping. I remember walking into so many shops that had all of the faux Coach purses hanging up on the walls like brightly colored presents and the small Chinese woman standing in the center of the mess of “designer” bags calling out each bag’s price to us, the customers. We were crammed into that little shop like sardines in a tin ten times too small for us and were taken aback by the high numbers she was calling out for these bags. So finally, someone in the sardine crowd haggled her way into getting the bag she wanted for almost half of the price of what the woman was asking for.

And that is exactly the lesson I learned. I went next door to the ring stand, which was really the one I was excited about and got the ring that I wanted for seven dollars less than what she was selling it for. That was not the only lesson I learned in New York City, but it certainly was one of them.

BOLA TANGKAS