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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Putting down Roots in India

We are settled down pretty well here in Bangalore. After 8 months, your house feels like home and coming home after any business trip – your bed feels cozy. Doug and I have begun to look around the place and made a list of things that would be nice to have for the next 18 months. Fortunately we are members of several expat and community groups. The wonderful thing about Bangalore is that people are always coming and going. Whether that be our friends and colleagues that bring us goodies from the US or members of these networks posting items for sale. The funny thing about all these networks – Bangalore Expat Club, Overseas Women’s Club and the Palm Ladies Group – is that people think their stuff is gold. If you are an avid garage/ yard saler in the US, you know how this works. The ad goes into the paper with a short of list of key items to get the shoppers in. The truly serious garage / yard salers show up before the stated time of sale and pick up the good finds. If you show up at the listed time of sale, you get leftovers. The same thing happens here! However the prices are nearly the same as full price but the fact that it’s from IKEA or Pottery Barn retains retail value like nothing else I have ever seen. And if you have a small child and are looking for something as rare as Fisher Price toys, those will be snapped up immediately for the crazy prices. On occasion we can find some of those items new here in India, but many of them you simply cannot. Often you find a similar looking item but the quality might be slightly less durable – especially for toys. Also the really popular toys in India are the same as in the US – which makes them extra expensive here when purchased new.

Back to my home decorating. We have been watching the postings for a dresser, armoire, terrace furniture, vacuum cleaners, ovens etc… We were successful on the vacuum cleaner back in December and I think that was equal to $100 USD. We caved and just bought new terrace furniture and an oven because we kept showing up at sales where those things were already gone. Multiple times we have seen listings for 47” Sony flat screens but only come to find out they are sold within seconds of posting – on the phone or email transactions. The other crazy thing is that people who are leaving really do sell everything. We have seen listings for liquor – some open bottles, some not; medicine – Prilosec to Xanax; magazines; flippers; bikes and mattresses. Many times its cheaper to rebuy it at home vs. ship it from India. Doug and I have changed our strategy. Keeping cash on hand the minute a posting shows up with something decent, we call/ email or show up at the lister’s house regardless if its sale time or not . This has landed us with a new armoire and a twin bed (Sealy Posturpedic) plus bed frame. And of course we no longer attempt to negotiate for “used” stuff because there is a line up behind us of other hungry expats wanting something quick and easy that feels like home. Our only consolation is that we should be able to unload our purchases for what we paid for them.

On a side note, this helps satisfy my shopping hunger :)

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