SAREES are some of the nicest things I'd spend my money on although I only see myself wearing them three or four times a year for weddings. Still, I love sarees more than any other Indian costume cuz they bring out a woman's curves in a most flattering way (provided one wears one that's suitable). So, while shopping with my mother and aunt yesterday, I dragged them out of a spice shop to check out a certain saree boutique on Lahat Road, Ipoh. Beautiful colours and materials in all shades and texture, some were designer sarees, and some, according to the shop assistant, were 'one-only' pieces.
"Unique pieces, Miss. If you wear one of these to a party, I guarantee you'd be the only one wearing it," he said in good spirit. Sounded nice, but I've always taken the sweet words of a saree shop assistant with a jar of salt. At least this person stopped at that. Some fellas would start qouting you their 'best price' once they've noticed your lingering eyes on a piece or two for more than 15 secs, and most just wouldn't stop until you're paying for at least a piece. These ruthless people are capable of ruining the wonderful experience of saree-shopping, and that's because I think they tend to compare saree-shopping to their underwear shopping. The concept of window-shopping clearly does not exist for them.
Anyways, this man, the shop assistant was pretty young and somewhat boyish (not the usual type you see at saree shops) - tall and lean, probably in his early 20s, with a head full of fashionably cut and dyed reddish brown hair, an earring on the left lobe, dressed casually in blue jeans and a black shirt and tagged with bursting enthusiasm to sell sarees (and other Indian costumes). From the moment we walked in, he was unwrapping several heavily jewelled sarees (mind you, sarees are 6 meters long, and folding them back on neatly isn't one of my favourite things to do or watch others do) across us, constantly enquiring about my favourite colours. You see, I don't know why they do that , I don't buy sarees based on the favourite colour rule cuz otherwise I'd be having a closet full of green and black sarees by now.
By this time, the young man was rolling out more sarees, and each time he did it, he made sure a part of a saree fell on my shoulder so it slowly slided down my arm so I could catch a glimpse of it on the strategically placed mirror before me. Now, that's another saree-selling technique : put it on the woman, so she can see it glitter on her under the grandeur of the chandellier glow! You know what, it tickled me to watch the earnest young man in action (considering the pot-bellied old man in a turban at the corner, whom I presumed was his boss, watching him like an eagle), and I tried to maintain a poker face throughout the show, but my mother had to spoil it for me. GRRR. And more grrrr.
Oh yikes. And so he began. Tucking one end of the piece into my jeans, he asked me to twirl a full circle to the right, before folding the centre into a pleat and tucking it at the front (it was weird having a strange man tuck his fingers at the front of my pant while my mother watched approvingly), and letting the rest of the material to hang over my left shoulder in its full glitter and glory. It was absolutely lovely, the saree. But I still wasn't going to buy it - I had only wanted to window shop, and I had informed the guy of it from the very beginning when he was still on my favourite colours.
"Look for yourself, it looks gorgeous on you. Green is your colour," he said brightly, not knowing that I already own 10 green sarees in different shades in my collection.
He was cool about it, and didn't 'show a face' when I still refused to buy it. In fact, he thanked me and passed me a business card. I smiled a genuine smile and thanked him in return. That was a relief, and a surprise too, because most shop assistants would be cranky for having had to spread open a stack of sarees out of their own free will, despite you telling them not to. I dislike those types - those who force a customer to pay for any random saree just because they had tried to be helpful. Personally, if a shop assistant is going to be harrasing and pressuring me on my purchases, I'd never go back to the shop.
Respect consumer rights, otherwise it's just going to be Tata - Bye Bye for me no matter how beautiful a saree is!