Saturday, April 29, 2017

Eight kilos of bb cream

I was about to leave the office when I got a call from a customer. First I thought the man speaking fluent French in Arabic accent was joking as he wanted to buy eight kilos of bb cream. I checked the inventory and saw that the requested product was available. I found an old pricelist too. I said the make-up cream will cost 580 euros a kilo. The man over the phone said he would even buy ten kilos if we could make a nice deal. He said he was on his way to France from Tunisia now and would drop in to negotiate at the end of the week. 
   I went down to the cellar to pick up the product. I wandered between the shelves and started to become desperate. I couldn't find the product among the mess of dusty carldboard boxes. That was because I was looking for small or middle sized bottles. Instead I finally found a sealed twenty-kilo bucket. Though it was heavy I managed to carry it upstairs. I avoided looking at the best before date. Not seen, not heard, not guilty. I opened the bucket. It was full of light colored bb cream. It was the right product. However, there was a slight problem with the packaging. I took a spoon from the kitchen and tried, but it didn't even penetrate the hard make up. I left the bucket close to the heating overnight.
   The next day the cream was soft enough. I purchased ten one kilo plastic bottles in the corner supermarket and started the filling. My spoon technic was getting better and better and at the end of the day I had ten bottles ready. I left the other half of the bb cream in the bucket and closed it carefully.
   My first client ever, Monsieur Gaddab arrived wearing sweatpants and carrying plastic bags full of cheap garments he had purchased in Paris’s hard discount stores. He asked me to open one of the one kilo make up bottles and put his finger into the cream. He seemed satisfied and we started to bargain over the price like in the Djerba souk.

-          550 euros a kilo, I said.

-          400 euros, he said.

-          520 euros, I said.

-          440 euros, he said.
As the negotiation went on he took 500 and 200 euros banknotes from his sweat pants’ pocket to impress me and make the price go down. He was seemingly used to dealing for anything from dried fruits to bb cream. Our communication was easy and smooth because we skipped the formal French “vous” which is not common in the Arabic language, nor in my mother tongue Finnish.
-          500 euros a kilo if you take all ten, I said.

-          450 euros and I take all.

We made a deal and he took all the bottles at 450 euros a kilo.

-          What do you need so much make up for? I asked.

It is for weddings, he said. He promised to camo back in six months.

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