A man selling geodes in Namibia is as common as hawkers pushing selfie sticks, fidget spinners and Senegalese tied-on bracelets at the Eiffel Tower.
We were parked at the beach near Walvis Bay admiring a broken down ship when a man approached our car with a cardboard beer flat with lovely sparkly crystals. Each one unique, maybe he found them, maybe invested in them, either way he was not the first to approach us with a box full of gems. He leaned towards my passenger window and proudly presented us with his supply and asked if we would like to purchase some of his native Namibian minerals, fluorite perhaps.
Uwe excitedly reached into the back seat of the car and began pulling out handfuls of rocks he himself had collected, reaching across my chest to show the man. “They just need a bit of shining and cleaning,” Uwe exclaimed proudly peddling his rocks to the rocks dealer. “This one is a good one, look how big it is.” “See this nice green one, it has such a pretty color.” “If you give this a strong scrub, this one will be beautiful.” “These you could definitely sell to some tourists, they’d love them.” “I’ll give you a really good rate. One price for all of them.”
The salesman was bewildered and kept insisting that he is the one selling the rocks. He doesn’t want our rocks. He wants us to buy his rocks. Yes, our rocks are nice, but I am the one selling rocks, not you.
No deal was struck. Amused, no richer and still laden with rocks we threw a few fluorite* into the fire for good measure that night.
*Fluorite is a common crystallized mineral found in Namibia often translucent green that turns bright blue and pops when thrown in the fire. It can change the flame colors as well making it an excellent party trick. Based on further research, if crystals are your thing it is also supposed to neutralize negative energies and stress.
The takeaway: When the badgering becomes too much, and enough is enough, this conscientious mirroring behavior is a lighthearted technique to reciprocate their tenacity. A routine we use often when hit up for money, selfies and general bullshit.