04 August 2010
The kind-hearted sellers
If you go to any tamu (open market), you'd see all kind of sellers selling their products, ranging from fresh produce like vegies and fruits, to clothes and plasticwares. In Sabah, the vendors at most tamus are generally the same ones. The just move around from town to town according to the days that the town has set for its tamu. In Telipok, for instance, the tamu is on Thursday. In Ranau, it is on the 1st of every month. If one is a regular tamu-goer, chances are, one will get to know the vendors well. I know my mom used to be one of those people.
You could bargain in tamu. It's almost like a game, bargaining the price of a product with the seller. Well I know my mom and her younger sister, my youngest aunt, love to do that, to the extent of making me feel uncomfortable when I'm with them!
Anyway, there are a group of sellers in tamus that to me, are overly kind-hearted. Since I grow up going to a tamu with many Dusun sellers, my experience is mostly with the Dusun kind-hearted sellers. These are normally the aki (grandfather) and odu (grandmother) from kampungs who come all the way to the tamu to sell their farm produce. They'd sell you their things at very low prices, often adding a few more extras on your buys. And they would look at you apologisingly when they say the price, as if they are causing you a lot of trouble by naming such price.
I make it a point to try to discourage them from reducing their prices when I'm buying from them. I know it might be fun to bargain, but these elderly folks are often those in need of money. But because they are too 'nice' to others, they would never try to take advantage by setting a high price on their products. Somehow, I have a soft spot for elderly sellers...