© 2011 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. It took me 34 hours to Photoshop out all the junk peddlers from this photo . . . and another 54 to Photoshop out Megan's Caribbean braids.

10/365 – Playa Taco Grande

Playa Taco Grande

Remember The Buckle?  Come on!  I know you probably still shop there if you live near any ancient mall in the midwest or New Jersey.  The BUCKLE!  A popular clothing store in the early 90s.  I’m using popular in the sense that it was a staple of every mall in the early 90s.  Here’s how they describe themselves on the website (www.buckle.com/about), “a leading retailer of medium to better–priced casual apparel, footwear and accessories for fashion–conscious young men and women.”  BETTER-PRICED?  The best definition of “better-priced” in the comments section wins A Buckle gift certificate.  Seriously – Better-Priced.

aka: The Vulture Mill

What’s more important is what the store has to say about customer service, “The Company emphasizes personalized attention to its guests (customers) and provides individual customer services such as free alterations, layaways, and a frequent shopper program.”  Read between the line – what it really means is, “We work on commission and as soon as you enter the store, we will bum rush you with smiles and helpful hints because you NEED to buy something.”

The Buckle training seminar.

Don’t believe me?  Okay, then.  In high school I used to play this little game when I was at the mall.  All you need to do is go to your local Buckle (which may mean driving/flying to the nearest midwest medium/small sized town).  Now, enter.  Count to ten.  If someone doesn’t instantly approach you with assistance within seconds, you win!  If someone doesn’t follow up with more assistance in the first minute, you win!  It’s rather obnoxious.

The long and short of this intro (oh, yes, that was an intro) is this: The Dominican Republic (and probably most Caribbean islands) is basically one huge Buckle store trying to hock useless, cheap products to you at every turn.  As soon as you enter the country, they’re trying to sell you something (remember the rum we had before customs – yeah, that was a ploy to buy rum, not just a welcome wagon).

Let me guess . . . you're selling necklaces.

This, to Megan and I, was the biggest problem with The Dominican Republic.  You see, just because we are white and form America does not mean 1) we are rich and 2) we have a desire to spend what disposable income we have on useless shit.  The DR is so beautiful till the locals circle you like vultures with fake petrified wood statues.  No, I don’t want a Coco Loco.  No, I don’t want amber jewelry.  NO, I don’t want a petrified wood statue of two lovers entwined making a heart shape with their bodies.  NO!  I will not buy your bootlegged copy of Bad Boys spelled Baad Bois.  NO, I DON’T WANT MY HAIR BRAIDED!  (Well, maybe I do, but out of principal, NO!)

 

Oh god, it's so tempting. But I already said no to the last 15 ladies who offered me these same services. So sorry. Now I have to feed my fake petrified wood cat.

And it was these occurrences that made convincing Megan to spend our last day at a public beach really difficult. And understandably so – we just wanted to enjoy ourselves with out being hounded by the peddlers of junk.

BUT, I convinced her and we headed to Playa Grande, a beautiful beach about 5 minutes from our resort.  Me?  I’m super excited to emerse myself in the culture without a guide.  Megan?  Trepidatious.  And for good reason.  As soon as we get there some d-bag instantly stops us trying to sell us a beach chair and pina colatas.  No, we say.  We’re fine.  Then another d-bag tries to sell us more petrified wood statues.  No!  There not real petrified wood anyway.  Then another d-bagarino tries to sell us more drinks.

It took me 34 hours to Photoshop out all the junk peddlers from this photo . . . and another 54 to Photoshop out Megan's Caribbean braids.

At one point, I decided to go to one of the many refreshment huts to grab a drink.  One guy starts yelling for me to come over.  He’s not even at a hut.  He’s some loser just basking in the sun by the beach – but I know that look.  He wants to sell me something.  I tell him he needs to come to me.  He doesn’t.  Then this new fella, Roberto, asks me if I’m thirsty.  Tired of saying no, I tell him yes.  “Well, then, come to my hut.  It’s number 8.  I can make you a drink.”  Sure, I bite.  But then the first d-bag who tried to sell me a beach chair interrupts and says he saw me first, “Remember me?  I told you I’d get you anything you want.”  Now I feel like an a-hole.  Like I just cheered on my girlfriend.

Damn-it! Do I look like I want another coconut filled with the nectar of the gods?

This kind of crap happened most of the day till the beach was empty.  At one point, I’m standing with Megan and a guy tries to sell me more junk.  NOPE.  Not having it.  I shoo him away and go back into the ocean to battle it to the death.  (The ocean was literally raping me.  So much sand in my crack.)   I turn around and he’s pestering Megan right after I said no.  I scream from the ocean, “Leave my wife alone!  Leave her alone!”  Megan handles it and he leaves.  I love my lady.

Yeah, the ocean got me pretty good. It's gotta be working with the junk peddlers.

In the end, we had a great time at the beach.  We had to just learn to be direct and mean about saying no.  As soon as you let one of these peddlers show his wares, its over.  You have to buy.  So, Dominican Republic, I want to give you a word of advice from a couple if newlyweds.  We did not go to the DR to buy junk.  We came to buy memories.  Zip lining – memory!  Monkeys eating from your hand – memory!  Jumping into a lagoon from a 56ft cliff – memory!  Amber ear rings in the shape of a dolphin – wasted money and pointless artifact that will sit in a drawer forever.  So, if you want to sell this crap, set up little tables and huts for people to approach you.  Then you know that the customers are interested in your wares.

Yeah, that'll look real good with my braided hair.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to rap up my petrified wood cat to give as a gift.  I don’t want this crap.  (Sorry, Matt.)

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