It was a Saturday at the market, when my wife stopped by to pick up some meat for the week. As she strolled through the dozens of tables riddled with every conceivable animal part, she began to rethink the idea of buying meat late in the day. How long has this stuff been lying out on these tables?
Everything from lamb hooves to bovine heads and fish extremities to llama fetuses can be found. One can buy every weird thing imaginable. However, my wife only wanted to purchase some pork ribs. Should be easy enough…
As she approached the table where there appeared to be a plethora of pork parts, she casually commenced a conversation with the lady behind the table. “I would like some ribs.”
“How much would you like?” The lady said.
Teri responded, “I’m not sure how they come.”
The lady responded as most non-service minded shop operators in Peru respond, “how much do you want?”
Teri could tell that the lady was not going to be very helpful. So with a bit of coercion, Teri was able to get the lady to show an example of something. From there, Teri was able to steer the lady down a path to provide Teri with some items.
It was about this moment that the story took a strange twist. Teri, of course, only wanted to pay for the ribs. However, somewhere during the exchange, the lady ended up cutting off a chunk of ribs along with a good assortment of undesired and unnegotiated attachments.
Teri learned a lesson…again…Never assume that the clerk put the items that you desire in the bag. In Peru, this is like learning to breath. Without it, failure will always ensue. Check everything…Well, it didn’t get checked until it was time to get the ribs ready for dinner.
To Teri’s surprise, inside the bag was something out of the ordinary. It was something that a typical American shopper would never get a chance to see. It was something that is usually removed from the perfect cuts that are on display for the customer…It was extra weight and no one knows why the lady failed to remove everything but the ribs.
As Teri laid the slab of pork flesh and bones on the counter, laying there before her was the underbelly of a pig. Complete with a large amount of skin, belly hair, and interestingly enough, a fair set of nipples.
There is nothing more exciting than having a mad woman in the kitchen with a knife in her hand, growling with frustration, asking the rhetorical question, “That lady charged me for this?”
At that very moment, Teri also realized that she had to do something with the hairy nipples, skin, and extra fat. So it was with each slice of the knife, that her frustration grew. Each nipple represented more anger towards the lady that knowingly sold the extra parts at the high price of ribs.
It is not something that you can take back. That concept does not work in Peru: Buyer beware is the mantra.
So as we approach the holiday season, I wanted to give you all some advice on holiday shopping:
If you don’t pay attention, you might be surprised at what is sticking to your ribs.