Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Hangers and other such happenings part

The title of my last entry was ¨Stop Signs, Hangers, and other such happenings.¨ Except that I didn´t talk about the ¨hanger s or other such happenings part.¨ In case anyone was dying to hear about my experience buying hangers, here ya go.

I went to Carrion. Which was a nice thing to see in Honduras. There, of course, were various Carrion stores in Costa Rica, and seeing them here in La Ceiba made me feel a little more at home. I needed hangers. So, I walked in, and found the hangers quickly. Immediately, as anyone would expect, there was a girl attached to my left elbow. The conversation went something like this:

Her: What are you looking for?
(I was clearly standing right in front of the hangers.)
Me: Oh, thanks, but I found what I need.
(I start looking at prices of the 10 pack.)
Her: Oh, well these are cheaper.
(Pulling down the three pack.)
Her: See, these are only 29 lps, and those are 34.
Me: But there are only three of them. I want ten.
Her: Oh, well these are better hangers.
Me: But there are only three of them. I want ten.

(I finally pulled down the ones I wanted, and starting looking around at the blankets some. She, of course, was still following me.)

Her: I´ll take those for you. Are you ready to pay?
Me: Well, I´m still looking around.
Her: Well, let me take them for you.
Me: Really, it´s okay. I think I´m going to look around the whole store a little.
Her: (With a surprised and shocked look on her face,) Oh, well, I need to take those for you. Let me take you up to the cashier.
Me: I´m not ready to pay.
Her: Well, I really need to take you up to the cashier.

I finally gave in and just went. But honestly, are you trying to attract business or kill it? And there was no language barrier here either. This interaction didn´t surprise me in the least, but for all of my state-side readers, this is what you get here. Heaven forbid you want to buy something from two different departments. And it´s nice as if there was a separate cash register in the hanger, blanket, picture frame department. She walked me upfront. I guess they´re worried someone will get through the two armed guards they have standing at the doors checking every receipt (that is stapled to the outside of the bag) as people walk out.

I do look a little dangerous.

As for the other such happenings? School has been fine. Little by little I have been pulling in the second graders. Today, I threatened extra homework. Even gave some out to some of the kids who won´t shut up. And, a parent asked me to tutor. So, I´m going to mention it to several parents. Some of the other kids could definitely benefit too. I charge 30 lempiras for an hour if there is just one kid, and 25 lempiras an hour if there are 3 or more. That´s right folks, if I get 3 kids, I´ll be making 75 lempiras, which is a little less than $4. But, it´ll be for 2 or 3 days a week, and when you make $300/month, an extra $8-$12 a week is welcomed. :)


Jill said...

Is that the normal rate for tutoring up there? What is the socioeconomic situation of the kids at the school?

La Gringa said...

Katrina, that does sound very low, unless these are underprivileged kids.

As far as the shopping goes: Been there! No doubt she was worried that you were going to stick those 34 lempiras of hangers in your pocket. ;-)

Katrina said...

No, you´re both right. It is low. Ridiculously low. Another one of the teachers tutors and charges 60 or 80 lmps outside of the school, but we decided on what to charge the kids at our school. But, these kids aren´t underpriveledged, but they are rich kids either. And their parents are already paying 500 lmps more a month this year for the ¨bilingual¨ school than they did last year. So, I could charge more, but I feel bad. And the ones I´m tutoring are the kids that need help, not the smart kids. I want to ensure that their parents get them tutoring, but i dont exactly want to work gratis. it is a slippery slope. some of the families could afford more, but some just can´t, and i have to be fair to both.

so yeah. that was kind of a post in itself.

Jill said...

If you get strapped for cash, find some Koreans to tutor. The going rate is 250 lemps an hour. That is why I was so surprised.

Katrina said...

I knew the going rate was way higher, but 250 lemps an hour seems really high. Ah well, guess I´ll just have to find some of the rich kids. :)

Last year, the teacher who did tutoring after school didnt charge anything. So if you look at it that way, I guess I´m lucky that I´m getting anything.