On our last day, essentially, of the cruise we decided to do a little souvenir shopping. We hadn’t booked any excursions because we were on Kauai and most of the excursions were very expensive. This is the garden island and a lot of the excursions are helicopter rides, translate that as big bucks. And the departure time was early afternoon.
We took one of the shuttles that Hilo Hattie’s provides to the store. That should have been my first clue right there! Anyway, upon arrival in the store we were each handed a key and told to try to unlock the treasure chest on the counter. The keys didn’t unlock a thing. BUT! We had a consolation prize in the form of a discount ticket to pick an oyster and win a pearl. The oysters cost something like $15 to purchase. My second clue. I received 50 % off and my husband got 30% off, I think. But, of course, all I saw was the 50% off and my brain clicked into bargain time. Wrong. We followed the lovely young sales person back to the jewelry counter where they kept the oysters and I picked out my oyster. There is this horrible little ceremony they make you go through that lets everyone in the store know you are buying an oyster and therefore a pearl. After which they open the oyster for you and dig out the pearl. Every oyster has a pearl. And then the real fun begins.
After she cleans the pearl she wants to mount the pearl. Of course she does. So, she pulls out some mountings starting with $300 mountings for my less than $15 pearl. That was a no from me with a sideways glance at my husband trying to mentally transmit to him that he needed to step in here and get me out of this. So, she goes down to the $200 mountings. I gave in at the $100 mountings and let her mount my pearl. Whew, I thought. That’s over. Oh, no it wasn’t. Complimenting my husband on his patience and how much he loved me to let me chose such a lovely mounting for my pearl (which unbeknownst to her was coming strictly out of my pocket) she offers him a “free” pearl. Are you kidding me? These people have got this down to an absolute science.
He picks his oyster and she opens it to find, surprise!, another pearl. He then promptly turns to me and gives me the pearl. If looks could kill. Anyway, we start the process over. By this time I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my two daughters are going to some day inherit solitaire pearl necklaces and I go forth with the second mounting. They are very pretty, lovely as a matter of fact. And she may be right I might have paid a lot more to have them mounted back home. My point being I didn’t intend to buy any more pearls. I had bought a pearl twice the size with a very simple mounting for under $45 on another island. At least I hope it is a real pearl. I am assuming it is. However, I had a pearl from Hawaii. And secondly, I have only the pearl. Now I will, someday, have to come up with necklaces, gold necklaces or chains for the pearl pendants, which I just priced. That will cost me at this time in history around $400 a chain. So, my wonderful 50% off that got me my wonderful $7.50 pearl and a “free” pearl is going to end up costing me around $500 each necklace by the time all is said and done. Oh, how I wish I had taken advantage of the offer that lovely lady where I bought the first pearl gave me. She said they were moving the shop and make her an offer on anything in the store. She had some really nice, big smokey grey pearls, or pink or white that I probably could have picked up for a real bargain. But I didn’t think the captain would make the trip back so I could take advantage of her sale.
After our pearl adventure we finished our shopping. I in stunned silence. My husband in his usual jovial, chatty mood. For the rest of the day I meditated on what had happened… and not in a happy way. The next morning after breakfast my husband says, “Are you happy with your purchases yet?” He knows me too well. Yes, begrudgingly, I’m happy. I’ll say this, I’m not likely to forget it.