Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Grab a cuppa .....this is going to be a long one..

I swear I have turned into the biggest thread snob on the face of the planet. I truly think that the Koreans dislike me because I am so picky about the quality of the thread that I buy. I drive them crazy with my scrutiny.
Awhile back I found some silk thread. I purchased a small amount to test out and I told them I would be back for more.
My sweet hubby set up a trip for me to go to Seoul with a Korean co-worker of his to help me get the "Korean price" on threads.
Yes...you heard me right. There is a "Korean" price for goods and a "Non-Korean" price. Of course I fall into the latter category. The difference in prices can be very significant and I have learned that prices also change upon whims. It is not easy to shop here. It is very common to purchase an item and the Korean next to you purchased exactly the same thing for half the price. They don't even try to hide the fact that you are being "ripped" off. For those of you who follow this blog know that I HATE shopping AND I am super claustrophobic in crowds of people. So this little shopping trip yesterday was a very BIG deal for me.
The first time I bought silk I bargained for it. I have no experience bargaining but I have been told that the vendors expect it and don't respect you if you don't try to bargain. So I left the first time feeling pretty decent about the price I got.
I was very curious to see what Colonel Song could get me. We spent hours talking to silk vendors and nothing was satisfactory. We went back to the shop I originally purchased from and they remembered me. Col. Song bargained with them for two hours and came up with a final price that was.....and get this......HIGHER than what I originally paid. It was SO very HOT and I was getting tired so we took a break to get some lunch. While we were eating lunch Col. Song explained to me that the shop keepers remembered the price they gave me before and the reason they gave it to me is because they were frustrated with trying to communicate with me and just gave in. We went back to the shop after lunch and spent another hour bargaining with no luck, so this time I gave in and paid the higher price...even though the prices they told me the first time were a completely different story the second time.
Poor Col. Song was so dissapointed that he couldn't get me a better deal...but I stopped caring about 30 minutes in. I walked away with less silk than I thought I would, but I still love it. It is a dream to tat with.
Now I need to find a lovely bookmark pattern so that I can tat a silk one for Col. Song.
Col. Song is a lovely man who loves to practice his English. He speaks very well and we had excellent conversations about our cultural differences to and from Seoul. He also confirmed my suspicion that Korean people think that all white people are Americans.

I've also learned that I won't be buying my cotton threads from here because it is way too expensive. I'll just have to keep shipping those in.

The whole day was so grueling that both hubby and I fell asleep at 8:30pm and slept until 9:00 am the next morning. Every time we go to Seoul we end up feeling sick...I think it's the pollution.

I am so mad at myself because I forgot to bring along my camera. Next time I won't forget....but next time will be a looong way away because it will take some time to recover from this trip.

Did I mention that I despise shopping?
Geum mo rae means "Gold Sand" I think that is a lovely name for this silk.

This is the most recent hand dyed tatting thread: "RAINBOW SHERBERT"

....and the latest tatting shuttle to be added to the shop.


Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

The silk is lovely to tat with... I feel very elegant when that silky thread moves over my fingers! I wouldn't do very well in a bargaining society. I even have trouble on eBay! Either something is a price I feel I can afford, or it's not. I never would have lasted as long as you did!

Grizzly Mountain Arts said...

Your newest shuttle is gorgeous!

Reading your account of haggling for hours makes me shudder! I despise shopping and the thought of arguing about prices just isn't happening with me! LOL Your mention of the pollution problem makes me wonder how our athletes are going to cope during the Olympics in China.

Sapna said...

Welcome to Asia! Looks like you are finally getting the hang of living in here. Bargain is the word here... we do it here or rather people do it it. Just like you I have no patience to bargain at all. Hmmm... silk thread is it? Maybe I can help you, India is a huge exporter of silk. Hold on let me try something and let you know!

Tattycat said...

Great post. You keep opening our eyes to the Korean culture. I'm with Diane. I wouldn't last long. I figure if that's the price, that's the price. I'm sorry your Colonel couldn't help with the price. I know he was disappointed.
The new thread and shuttle are both very pretty.
I haven't tried my silk yet. I'm trying to get my hands smoothed out first!

TattingChic said...

Bummer that you couldn't get a lower price, but thank you for braving the crowds to bring us the beautiful silk threads, Sherry. That was so nice of Col. Song to go with you. He sounds like a sweet man. I hope you post the bookmark you tat for him. Men really seem to appreciate a nice tatted bookmark, I've noticed...LOL! I so wish I could buy from you right now! Happy Tatting! Thanks for the interesting post.

zarina said...

Your HDTs always makes me drool (both for the color and the images of food that keep popping). My aunty went to Korea to buy silk fabric - as usual she would start bargaining but the opposite happened. She was thrown out of the shop.

Another thing you can try (which you may not have to travel to Seoul), is get someone carrying the brand or the thread and ask them to buy for you. Make sure you don't show your face - but then this shopkeeper will definitely remember you.

Jamie said...

That would drive me batty!! I am no into shopping or dickering or large crowds. Ugggh. Can you find this "Golden Thread" on the big worldwideweb?

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

They may very well have a website but I am still struggling with the Hangul...

당신은 나가 의미하는 무슨을 알고 있는가?

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