Yesterday I went into the Old City for yet another round of Christmas shopping, and somehow managed to spend the better part of a thousand shekels (a little over $200) in the course of a few hours, while also finding myself the unfortunate victim of the pushiest of salesmen for the first time that I can recall. Here is how it happened (keep in mind that at the time of my story, I had been up since seven in the morning after a night of four hours sleep, had been in two two-hour classes, was stressed out about finding something for everyone, catching up in my classes, planning a Christmas party and packing for home, and had already been walking around the Old City for several hours, bargaining to the point of exhaustion): I was on my way out, laden with gifts, when a man passed me on the street and asked me to come look in his shop. I said no. He said just come take my business card. I was so tired, and just wanted him to go away, but finally I sighed and followed him. Next thing I know, three Arab salesmen are showing me things, talking to me, confusing me, and in a few short minutes, one of them is packing up a necklace, and removing from my outstretched hand 200 shekels. I have no idea what happened, how I could have been so weak and discombobulated that I actually finally agreed just so I could leave. I actually burst into tears when I walked out of the shop. It reminded me of a few times in India when I had felt so utterly taken advantage of, and so manipulated, that control suddenly flew from my hands to some stranger's and I was left with this feeling of violation. It was awful.
So now I have this necklace, which is actually quite beautiful, but which I never wanted in the first place. I had a few thoughts of trying to return it, but I know how futile that would be, and besides--I will never set foot in that shop again. From now on I limit myself to one hour of shopping, on a full night's sleep, and only when in full command of all my mental faculties.