Last Saturday, we were having coffee at the Aristocrat Restaurant on Roxas Boulevard when I saw this puppet peddler through the glass window. Sam loves those puppets. When she and Alex were still little girls, every time we went to Baguio, she always brought home at least one of these puppets on a string.
I knew just how much Sam would love a new one so, via hand language, we managed to ask the peddler how much the puppet cost. P250 pesos, he said. My, that’s really overpriced. I shook my head, he lowered the price to P200 but that was still too steep. These puppets sell for about P70 pesos in Baguio.
When we left the restaurant, the peddler was waiting for us outside. P150, he said, because they were unique as he made them himself and we wouldn’t find anything like them in the malls. I smiled and said thank you but I stood my ground. No, thanks.
That’s the problem when you buy anything in a tourist area — and Roxas Boulevard and the surrounding districts constitute one huge tourist area. Peddlers and business owners think everything should be priced according to the paying capacity of rich tourists. In the case of the puppet peddler, dollar-paying tourists would probably consider a five-dollar toy very inexpensive and, perhaps, it would be if it were really one of a kind. But, like I said, it wasn’t. It just so happened that this particular peddler was the only one selling them in the area at that moment.
Tip for tourists and even for locals: If a peddler tells you that his stuff are all handmade by himself and they’re one of a kind, don’t take his word for it. Look around some more. Chances are, you’ll meet others like him who will tell you the same thing.