Weather / visit to University / trip to JUMBO
Trip Start Sep 06, 2008
19Trip End Nov 25, 2008
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So on Tuesday, since it was still raining and there were no classes, Sister Catherine and I decided to venture into San Pedro to go to the "JUMBO," which is the Dominican equivalent of Wal-Mart. I was interested to see what this would be like, and it was sort of like Wal-Mart, just very down-scaled. I wanted to get some picture frames, blank CDs, and print off a few pictures to give to my family. This was the mission...
I decided to start with the pictures, and I was happy to discover that there was an instant digital print kiosk, but it did not appear to be working. The guy behind the desk said something incompressible to me, and I just looked at him, puzzled. He then repeated - slowly - that he didn't have the key to open the part where the computer/printer was to reset it, but that he would ask his friend to bring him the key. I said ok and stood aside to wait...but then he began to chat with another friend who also works there, and there was no indication of any progress on acquiring the key to the kiosk. So, I decided to do my other shopping and come back.
Off I went to the electronics department (quite extensive in terms of equipment, not so much in terms of accessories - such as CDs, jewel cases, etc.) The CDs were nowhere to be found, so I asked someone, and they led me to the cosmetics counter (of course! What was I thinking...why wouldn't I assume that the CDs would be kept there??) Sure enough, there they were locked up in a cabinet by the register. She asked me how many I wanted, and I said 10. However, they only have the giant stacks of 100 CDs, so she ripped that apart, counted out 10, wrote down a code for the cash register, put them in a plastic baggy and handed them over. Needless to say, I found this rather odd. I then asked for jackets or cases for the CDs, so she showed me the travel wallets, which is not what I wanted. Back we went to the cosmetics counter, where there was a huge stack of 100 plastic envelopes for CDs. So she counted out 10, took them out back and left me for about 15 minutes, and then came back with a specially made price tag for these 10 envelopes. I thanked her profusely and was on my way. Picture frames were next, which was a bit of a nightmare. They were all mixed in together - some in boxes, some not, no order to the sizes, etc. So I dug around for about 30 minutes trying to find what I wanted, and I did come out successful in the end.
So, now it was time to go back for the pictures. However, it appeared that the guy with the key to the kiosk never showed up, as the guy behind the counter was on the floor behind it, and there were nuts, bolts, and screws on the counter and on the floor, and there he was with a screwdriver taking the thing apart from the back! (If there's one thing I can say, is that Dominicans are very resourceful...if something doesn't work the conventional way, they will find an alternative - no matter how convoluted it may be!) Anyway, he had clearly been working at taking this thing apart for a while, and when he saw me come back, he jumped up and explained what was going on. Finally, he got the machine out (after a great deal of wobbling the kiosk around, some banging, etc.), and he was able to reset it...and sure enough, it worked! I was able to print my pictures with little hassle, and he was very nice to me during this whole process.
By this time Catherine had purchased all of her groceries, had taken them to the car, and was waiting for me. I felt bad that she was waiting, but I really had no idea that going to the JUMBO was going to be such a process! I also managed to find some 2 for 1 wine (at 2 bucks a pop, I couldn't go wrong!), which was exciting. There was a problem at the check-out with those individual plastic CD sleeves...for some reason, the special price tag that was made for me wanted to charge me for the full 100 envelopes instead of 10. The girl didn't know how to void or change it, so we were holding up what was already pretty slow production at the check-out counter. In the end, I couldn't take them b/c they didn't know how to sell them to me...and by this point, I really didn't care - I just wanted to get out of there! On the way back to Consuelo, we could see that a few of the poorly constructed side streets had already begun to flood, which wasn't good. In the end, there were about 100 people evacuated from San Pedro due to rising water in the streets. Santo Domingo also has a drainage problem, which always ends up making the pictures in the news. However, most of the rest of the country does not have this problem in the towns.
So I have been initiated into the world of shopping Dominican style now, and it was definitely an interesting experience! More to come later...