I went to a “mall” today called Greenhills. There may be a mall there somewhere, but what I visited was more of a flea market, or what might be called a “swap-meet” out west. These were all new wares, though. Many were knock-offs of course, but plenty of authentic stuff as well. Many of the major labels that are sold in the US are manufactured in the Philippines, Malaysia or China for the obvious reasons of labor cost. If some of these items happen to get “lost” in transit I suppose they must end up somewhere. Factory seconds probably also make their way here, as well as production overrun. Although I did no see such an example, I hear that Gap clothing is sold here, with the word Gap actually cut out of the tag for apparent legal reasons. I’ll probably check for that next time.
Walking by each stall was reminiscent of the straw market in Nassau, Bahamas. Passing each booth came with greetings that double as an add for whatever the young lady happened to be selling.
“Hi sir, T-shirts for you.”
“Hi sir, rubba shoes” “you buy.”
“Hi sir, (insert product here), you buy. I give first customer discount.”
Some are more persistent than others, and everything is negotiable.
I, of course, thought the first customer discount was a bit of a scam, but apparently it is for real. There are hundreds of these stalls, and remembering Wendy’s flea market days, some times an entire day can go by without one sale. In buying a T-shirt for Corbin I was one such first customer. The lady took the money, and kind of bounced it over the remaining neatly stacked shirts, sort of like the pope does with that little incense thing or holy water or whatever. They believe the first customer money is good luck, and this was an effort to spread that luck over the rest of her stock.
“Rubba shoes?” You may have asked previously. They were referring to Crocs. They have both the real deal and fakes. One can tell the difference by looking at the embossed writing on the bottom. The real ones list the crocks.com website and the company headquarters in boulder Colorado. The fakes direct you to croos.com and “bolder coloroad”, wherever that is. Not sure it really matters, I mean, come on, they are only rubba shoes. How can you screw that up? I got Wendy some of the authentic ones anyway. No sense taking chances, right? I’m usually against buying anything abroad that can be purchased at home, but I will make an exception if it can be had for 10%- 20% of the normal price.
By far the most unique gift is for little Hailey. She likes weird stuff, but she is also the animal lover in the family, so I’m not sure if she is going to absolutely love this or be freaked out by it, but I just couldn’t pass this up. It’s the little monster you see at the top of the post that is poised to destroy the Makati skyline. It’s a whole frog skin, tanned like leather and turned into a coin purse. Yes that is a zipper across its chest. A small rope has also been inserted as a shoulder strap. I still find it kind of creepy, but this definitely fits in the “stuff I’ve never seen for sale in the US” category. A picture with a little better perspective is below. So if any of you reading this see my little bit before I do, this one’s a secret, so keep your trap shut… or I’m sending the frog after you.