Before making any purchases here in Panamá make sure it's what you want and that it's not broken because there is NO return policy here. And for this reason the point of sale process is very different from what we've experienced in the states. I remember those days of standing in line at Wal-Mart after prying the tape off the box to make sure the item inside was in one piece and that all the parts are there. But then Wal-Mart is known for taking back just about anything, whether you bought it there or not. I know this from experience since I was a Wal-Mart Department Manager years ago in ladies. They would take back clothes that had obviously been worn, washed or bought at K-Mart just to make the customer happy. But the days of Wal-Mart are far behind us and things are a little different here in Panamá.
Yesterday we went toilet shopping and found some great deals, although it took a while. Casa de Materials in Panama City has some great "ofertas" or sales. For $89.95 we picked up a toilet with seat, a pedastal sink, and matching soap dish, toilet paper holder and toothbrush holder. The salesperson put our order into the computer. Then we went to the caja or cashier and paid her and she printed out a bill. We took the bill to the "pickup area" where they looked at it and told us to have a seat. After a while they called our name and we approached the window. The person at the window opened the boxes that contained the accessories and showed us each one, carefully re-closing each box afterwards. Next we went outside where someone brought out four boxes. The man opened the first box carefully pulling out the toilet tank and lid, showing us that is wasn't damaged or scratched. Then he put it back in the box and re-taped the box on all sides. On he went to the sink bowl following the same procedure until he went through all of the boxes. A nearby woman was buying tile and her salesperson opened up each package of tile and flipped through them making sure there were no damaged tiles.
An hour later after all of our toilet parts had been inspected we were on our way. We have to laugh at the way they do things here but at least we know what we bought is not damaged. Clyde was so happy at the price we went back and bought a second toilet and sink set in a different color for another bathroom. Our house has a yellow bathroom and I wanted a replacement toilet in yellow, but no one seemed to have yellow. So we had to go with a different color which will change our color scheme a bit and I'll explain more in a later blog with pictures.
Also stopped at a lighting store for some $59 ceiling fans and a bathroom light fixture for $8.99. Believe it or not they had a light fixture for $1.99 but we splurged on the higher priced model. This huge store called Lumicentro has some great deals but does have much higher priced lighting too.
Today we're off to the city again but this time to meet with our lawyer and the sellers of the house for the final paperwork. Yes after just three short months we are finally closing on the house! But since the owner was nice enough to give us the keys three weeks ago, we've managed to get lots done in the meantime.
We've given our notice to the owner of the rent house and will be leaving here at the end of the month. This comes with a bit of sadness since Betsy has become our first Panamanian friend who has helped us out so much. We hope to remain friends and expect to see her in our new home whenever she's in the area. So here's to the next chapter of our life in Panamá. A new home full of new experiences big enough to entertain friends we've made here.......along the gringo trail.