waxaale: to bargain

One of the joys of being in Senegal for this long is that I now have a sense of how much things should cost. This knowledge has been a huge aid to my bargaining skills, and it makes it a lot harder on the local Senegalese I encounter!

At Marché HLM, I find some wax fabric that I love. This is my third trip to Marché HLM, so I am no rookie when it comes to buying fabric now! After the usual greetings, I ask to buy the fabric. Ñaari meetars, two meters, I say.

Ñaari meetars, trois mille francs, says the shopkeeper. Two meters, three thousand francs (CFA).

I raise my eyebrows—this is wrong! The standard price for wax fabric across the market is 1000 CFA per meter. Déetdéet, I say sternly, shaking my head. Piis bu wax-bi, ñaari meetar, deux mille francs. This wax fabric, two meters is two thousand francs (CFA).

The shopkeeper laughs—he knows I’m right. Waaw, deux mille francs, he agrees right away. He won’t be able to pull one on over this tubaab today!


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