Saturday, October 11, 2008

being a gringa.

it never ceases to amaze me.

just because i am a woman... a foreign woman, does not mean that i know nothing about anything. especially construction.

we try to do all of our "send out" work with people we know, or who come recommended to us by people we trust. everything from sewing uniforms to fixing shoes is done with people we trust.

about 6 months, i had samil's closet fixed by a carpinter. he installed shelves - long shelves, short shelves. fixed some of the doors and a few other things that needed "carpintery". and in holy week my dad installed some shelves in our laundry area and pantry.

i really liked the work the carpinter, sandy, did. he did a really good job at a really good price. and on top of it, he bought his young son along as an apprentice - and gave him a part of the money. i like that.

but, he lives kind of far, and the nanny who takes care of the girl upstairs told me the other day that her husband is also a carpinter. and while i don't implicity trust the nanny (that's a post for another day) or even really like her, i know that she is in a tough spot economically and decided to call her husband for a job i've got in the school.

a little, itty-bitty cabinet with a locking door. less than one sheet of ply-wood. i'm looking for utility, not beauty. i just need to lock up my chalk. because if one more student writes penis or poop on my board, i'm going to go mad.

the work should cost about 1,500 pesos. about 30 bucks. or less. in fact, all the work sandy did in the house cost 2000 pesos and it took a lot more wood than we're talkign about for this cabinet.

so, i take the husband to the school, explain what i need and why. he tries to convince me that i need pine. not plywood. for a million reasons, none of which made sense. or at least i didn't care. i was very specific about what i wanted. plywood. doors. a lock. three shelves.

not pine. not fancy. no paint. i'll paint it myself.

the price? 4,000 pesos. about 150 US dollars. for plywood. and nails.

unfortunately it happens a lot. i don't know if he thought i didn't know about wood. or about haggling. or that even in the states 150 dollars for what i want is a little much. too much. a rip off. highwayrobbery even.

and even knowing the tight economic spot they're in, i wasn't about to allow myself to get ripped off - becuase sometimes i knowingly get ripped off , it's a bleeding heart thing. i just couldn't handle that this is someone i know. personally. not a friend of a friend.

and it pissed me off that he wanted to charge so much. so i told him no.
and of course he lowered the price.
and lowered the price.
all the way to what i told him it was worth.

but i told him no anyway. because i think it's important to take a stand against con men. and i know that he'd be pissy about doing the work anyway, since he apparently thought it was worth so much more and i'd end up with crap in the end.

i like sending stuff out. getting things fixed. getting things made just for us.
but really, i can't wait for ikea to get here.

sweden in a box.
i'm ready.

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