Monday, February 14, 2011

Gum on the Train

The rabbit and I, as mentioned, did go to see 127 Hours last night. She arranged tickets a few days ago. While we were sitting and waiting for trailers to begin, I asked what she had heard about the movie. She told me she hadn't heard anything. I asked if she knew it was based on a true story. She replied that she liked true stories. When it was all said and done, she thought the movie was great, but she was nowhere near ready for the big scene.

Anyway, we will be heading to the East Coast tomorrow for a couple of days. A 3 hour bus ride to Waterpia at Seorak Mountain resort. We'll be staying 1 night and then heading to Seokcho (a small town on the coast to watch the sunrise on the East Sea on Thursday morning. We are both very much looking forward to a few days out of town.

This afternoon on the train, I had an awkward gum seller experience. A common way for people down on their luck to make some extra cash comes in the form of selling gum. Packs of Xylitol brand gum can be bought at your local Family Mart for 500won (about 50 cents). People buy-up cases of the stuff and roam through the subway cars offering packs for 1000won - consider it a 100% mark-up for a convenience fee.

A couple of weeks ago, a dude on a wheelchair made his way through the subway car and I waved him over. I took out my 1000 won bill to pay the man, he gave me the pack of gum, I gave him my money, and then he told me that he wanted 2000 for it. What am I going to do then - argue with a gum-selling dude in wheelchair? But, for real.

Today, a testy little lady got on the train and was not at all shy about pushing her gum case into people's line of sight - it wasn't enough to simply announce her wares. She saw my foreign self and made a bee-line for me. I was reading a book. She put the gum in my face. I wasn't biting. She nudged my book with the gum. I waved my hand to say no. She then pushed into my effing face with her gum case - like testing to see if I were alive or dead. I said "Annio!" and she moved on - shoving her gum into the face of the lady beside me, but with much less determination.

Word gets out. She had probably heard that foreigners pay double.


Andy Irwin said...

haha, if I've learned one thing and one thing only from China and Vietnam it's that you always ask for the price first!

What's interesting though is that often, once you purchase one thing the vendor (or other vendors) immediately class you as liable to purchase something else and pounce on you or try and upsell every other item they have. I've been caught out with street kids selling things and have seen a number or friends caught out in a variety of ways. Typically now, I just don't buy, it saves the hassle.

Douglas said...

Yea, that's a rotten situation you got stuck in helping the Wheel Chair guy. You're trying to help him and he takes advantage of you. It sure aint personal, but it's not easy to accept either way. As a remind, always better to give food, I've never had any homeless guy turn that down, it also prevents from the possibility of a couple of homeless people from spending it on drugs or booze.