“Historically, Ouzai has been known to be a furniture souq,” the elderly gentleman we encountered told us. “People from all over Lebanon and with all sorts of means come here to buy things.”
And his words couldn’t be truer.
I don’t know why we had put off going to Ouzai for so long when we had known it would be a good enough place for us to find items like a shoe cabinet, desk chairs, and even those dreaded bedside tables we have been trying to find for what seems like an eternity.
But maybe that’s because it’s totally out of our comfort zone. The area, and in particular one very long street, is in the Southern suburbs of the city and can best be described as very public. It isn’t like those fancy French-named shops or big brands that first come to mind when you think about furniture shopping if you’re living on certain means.
Stores are lined up on both sides of the street, selling everything you can imagine: produce stands, meat and chicken, car items, and furniture. The signs seem to have seen better days but I don’t think that’s the storekeepers’ prime concern.
Bargaining is. You would really be hard pressed to walk into one of those stores and not bargain your heart out because those guy truly know how to pitch something to you. It’s a skill they’ve developed from years of seeing people come and go and you as a customer immediately notice that because there are no price tags anywhere: everything is up for discussion.
So of course we would seem out of place with our Raybans and Nikes and our inexperience at bargaining. We’re not stuck up or anything of the sort but we’re a lot more used to shopping in malls.
But I would say we managed well enough and didn’t let anyone overcharge us. I think coming in with such low expectations that nothing would match our taste and nothing would fit made the whole process easier.
AND WE FOUND THE BEDSIDE TABLES!
Yes, I had to write that in caps because you cannot imagine how utterly relieved we are. With that item out of the way, this means we don’t have to buy any more major furniture for the house and that everything from here on is just accessories and sorting things together. They are currently where they belong, in our bedroom, with the cute side lamps we picked up last week decorating them.
And they’re exactly the same shade of wood as the rest of the stuff, so if you’re not reading this post, you wouldn’t realize there’s any difference.
It didn’t all go off without a hitch though. Because we also got ourselves a pretty cool shoe cabinet, the truck of our car was full and could not accommodate anything more. So Ahmad asked the guy if they would deliver the side tables to our apartment, and they agreed, promising they would follow us in 15 minutes.
That was at 2:30 pm. The side tables arrived at 6 pm. Thankfully we had the good sense not to sit and wait for them that whole time and instead went on to look for some more stuff we needed.
But what really matters is that it’s over and done with!
Oh and, once again, don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.