Last week Jack and I visited ExpoSaldo in Santa Cruz; a huge annual market of stock clearance items where you can grab a bargain in anything from tights to Toyota Land Cruisers and everything in between.
It was very hot and a bit breezy, which is about par for the course in Santa Cruz, and it felt great to get into the air conditioned cool of the Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos building.
Seeing the ranks of new and used cars and motor bikes at incredible knock down prices and stepping onto the escalator to get to the upper concourse where the shoes and clothes were, I was already mentally drawing up a list of things I could possibly sell at a car boot sale to fund this outing.
We began our meticulous inspection of every stall, moving up one aisle and down the next so as not to miss anything. So many times I felt my hand twitch towards my credit card as I passed bargains like a hairdryer, iron and electric fan, all 3 for €9.99; racks filled with beautiful summer dresses at €8 each and sandals at 2 pairs for €5.
But as we rounded another aisle we could hear voices, English voices. A small crowd had gathered around a stall where two elderly gents were demonstrating ‘Magik Cloths’. One of the men was pouring water into a glass bowl and then placing a folded up piece of cloth the size of a tea towel over the water which was miraculously sucked up in its entirety. Removing the cloth and opening it out, not a single drop of water dripped, it was just like Magik. All the while the guy was giving a Cockney Barrow Boy-type sales monologue in English with the occasional word of Spanish in an appalling Spanglish accent thrown in for good measure:
“And, as you can see Senyors and Senyoras, the cloth has entirely soaked up the agwar and the only way you pweday remove it is by wringing the cloth like so…”
And he’d wring the cloth to release the water back into the bowl.
Now he had people hooked, they were obviously interested. But with complete and utter incomprehension of a single word spoken plastered across their faces, they were waiting for the key piece of information…el pressyo.
The guy points to a still from a TV commercial:
“As you can see, the pressyo on el television is death” (and here he holds up 10 fingers) “euros.”
People start to walk away assuming that he’s telling them that’s the price.
“No, wait, don’t go,” he says to the backs of the dispersing little crowd. “But here, today, you get not only oonow, or even doss, no, here today you get tress” (and he holds up 3 fingers) for the price of oonow!”
But it’s only a couple of people who have stayed to hear the final price and last I saw, he was bagging up two sales.
I felt really sorry for the guy and couldn’t understand why he hadn’t got someone to translate his sales pitch into Spanish for him. I could only surmise that he’d travelled up from the south and was expecting his audience to have a high English speaking content. He was wrong; I never heard another English voice apart from his. I very rarely do in Santa Cruz.
I hope he managed to sell more of his Magik Cloths and if he’s reading this now, I’m available to translate and do the pitch for you…at a pressyo pour supwesto!