Everyday situations when you’re a foreigner in Morocco become far more convoluted and confusing. Here’s Robert’s account of yesterday’s Problem of the Day:
So big problem, your headphones break and you’re without replacements, what do you do? Also did I mention you’re in Morocco? In America you’d just throw them away and then go to Best Buy or Target or Fry’s and buy a new one! Well, in Morocco, we always think to get something repaired before we buy anything new. Here’s how I managed the headphone sitch.
I went down to the local game shop where they sell PS2 (first made 16 years ago) FIFA soccer time by the hour and I asked the owner if he knew anyone that could fix a broken headphone cable. He of course sent me to Haybia, the most popular street in our city (think of it as a market street filled with shops of sweets, party favors, and electronics.) I go to the first electronics guy I can find and he says he can’t do it, you see he specifically sells cellphones and can’t be bothered with such inferior stuff like cables, so he sends me to the next guy. The next guy is more promising; his shop is filled with charger cables. But again, he can’t be bothered because he only sells new stuff. So I finally get sent to a back alley dude who will repair my cable. He told me to drop them off and come back 6 hours later… or 8, I couldn’t understand.
So of course I come back 7 hours later to find out if he was finished. He wasn’t; he was closed. So I ask the shop owner NEXT to his shop when or if he’d reopen. Now the problem here is this shop owner was in active bargaining mode, meaning he was haggling with a customer over the price of a new cable for an iPhone. See, the customer wanted to pay 30 dirhams for it but the actual price was 60. Using the sly tactic of handing the shopowner a 20 dirham bill, he starts the haggling.
“Take,” the customer says in Darija. (The English equivalent would be “Here.”)
“The price is 60 Dirhams,” says the shopowner.
“Fine, here’s 10 more,” says the customer.
“The price is 60 dirhams. Are you crazy? Go to a hospital and get help.”
“Here’s 5 more. 45 dirhams is more than enough for a cable as old as this one.”
“It’s brand new! There’s nothing wrong with it! 60 dirhams, God bless your parents!” (an interesting phrase that seems to pop up in most strangely argumentative situations)
Naturally of course this argument took 20 minutes to resolve until they finally agreed on 50 dirhams. I finally had an opening to ask my question.
“Hey, when is the guy next to you open?” I asked.
“Him? Oh he closed early, he’ll be open tomorrow.”
With an audible sigh, I turned to go home.
The next day, I go to get my headphones. Unsure about the price, I pay the man 15 dirhams (1.5 US dollar), a reasonable price I assumed. Turns out, I overpaid because the next thing he gives me a big smile and tells me is that I can return whenever if they break again or don’t work properly and he’ll fix them for free. The thing is this entire expedition wasn’t surprising in the least bit. Most of these things I either expected or didn’t think twice about because things have a way of becoming benign when you spend a full year here and get used to the ways things work.
Anyways, I can happily say I have fully repaired headphones and a newly purchased “infinite” warranty for a buck fifty. ✌ PEACE.