Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Saturday purchase: my new motorcycle jacket / Advice on travel scams

It can take a while to find the clothes your want over here. Persistence pays off. Keep an eye out for a good deal.

I've been wearing leather motorcycle jackets for years now and have wondered about picking one up while in Korea. The two I had back home do not fit too well anymore and they aren't here anyway.

That changed today. Rochelle and I came across this leather motorcycle jacket while strolling through Itaewon. It looked good, felt heavy (always a good sign), and had the classic styling. I tried it on and dang did it fit well--not too loose, not too tight, and not too long.

The price? A cool 50,000won.

I'll probably need to get some oil for it loosen it up, for it's a bit stiff yet, but that's all right.

Normally I don't like self-indulgent "look what I got" posts, but I can't help feeling excited about this, for it's another delayed "American Splendor" ^ purchase to cross off the list.

Buying this jacket brought to mind an article I'd read here.( Roosh, the writer, has traveled extensively in Europe and South America and speaks from experience.

"10. The switcharoo. A guy on the street is hawking cheap cameras that seem legit. Vendor is long gone by the time you realize you bought a box of rocks. Sometimes even stores will give you a box that is already opened.

Defense: Examine the goods."

Yes. Ask to see it/look it over/try it on/hear about its features/open the abox. If an item of clothing had zippers or buttons, play with them. Moreover, look at the packaging. I've noticed a number of suspect "off brands" in markets over here that look like a name brand but aren't.

Again: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Foreigners can be easy marks because they don't know the local customs as well as the natives. A case in point is Koreans and bargaining. It's nigh on expected over here to bargain over the price of something in a marketplace. I generally don't do that because I'm not used to it, but I should do it more often.

Another way: avoid the sidewalk markets or sellers and stick to the legitimate stores. Buying stuff there will likely cost more, but you'll have a better defense against getting scammed. For my part, I've had good luck with the markets: sellers have been friendly and they've often been generous with the "service," ie extra items. I've never had absurd prices quoted either. Still, two pairs of pants did eventually get holes in the pockets, but they can easily get fixed.

Also, the Korean big-box stores like E-Mart and Lotte Mart have generous return policies from what I've heard. Service and customer loyalty is important here. Stores want to protect their reputations. Paula once had to return a defective camera to Lotte Mart and the store took care of it right away. Once I bought a set of computer speakers and found that they were of poor quality, so I walked back to the seller and told him I'd bought them by mistake. I'd made a choice because the price sounded good. He immediately refunded the money on my debit card.

* Roosh's site also has some quality articles about meeting and hooking up with women. If you read more of his stuff, you'll likely see that he's sexist and misogynistic at times. Keep in mind that what he writes is his opinion. I'll stop here because although I'm not running a dating blog.

** I've yet to personally hear about anyone getting robbed or scammed over here beyond a taxi driver cadging an extra couple thousand won by taking a longer route than necessary. (Hell, that's common in the States too. It may be that the taxi meters are set differently in different taxis)

^ A friend coined the term "American Splendor purchase" a few years ago when I put off buying the American Splendor omnibus book for a long time because I never wanted to part with the money. I should've bought it right away.

No comments:

Post a Comment