Shopping, a la Ferengi


by Metadine

Not everyone has had the dubious pleasure of shopping at a Ferengi
establishment. For those who have that experience yet before them, a few
pointers might be useful.

First, it’s wise to understand at least a few of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.
The most important ones to remember : Rule 1, get their money; Rule 2, never
give it back. Let me give you an example.

I had finally wrangled an invitation to the Gala Celebration of, well, let that be
my little secret. The important thing to know is that I desparately needed a new
tunic . Shopping at Deep Space-10 is still limited since the facility is still under
construction, and there was no time to catch a runabout to Deep Space-9. The
only clothing establishment open at DS-10 was owned and operated by Keerlu, a
Ferengi. With no other options available to me, I entered the shop and asked
how long it would take to fit me with a new tunic.

“It is a waste of material to clothe a female, even a hew-mon female,” Keerlu
snapped. “Why should I waste good material?”

I have to admit, his attitude irritated me. “I would assume the possibility of a
profit would gain your attention. And, not that it’s any of your business, I am
NOT a human female!”

He looked at me carefully then, a crafty gleam coming into his eyes. “Hmmm,
perhaps so. You require a dress, a special outfit?” All his teeth were showing in
his grin.

“No, just a simple, well-fitted tunic will do. That is all I require,” I told him
firmly. “How long would it take?”

“One day. No problem, special work order and we guarantee delivery of
merchandise within 24 hew-mon hours.” This sounded acceptable. I ordered a
standard Starfleet cut, tailored to my rather generous proportions. “We have
much material here. That will
be 2 latinum-pressed gold strips.” (Ferengi First Rule of Acquisition – get the

The 2 gold strips was a shock to my finances, but as I said, I really needed that
tunic. Keerlu scanned my measurements and said to return at 1400 hours the
next day. I left, serene in the knowledge that the problem was solved. Now all I
had to do was finish my travel arrangements and go.

The travel arrangements were the least of my problems. An old friend offered to
let me “ride free” in return for acting as security officer on the trip. That settled, I
packed, got a good night’s sleep and at the appointed time, went to gather up my

That was when the real trouble started. I had indicated a preference for red and
black (a hangover from my security forces days I guess) and Keerlu had
cheerfully agreed they were nice colors for me. However…. what the Ferengi
handed me was ….startling, to say the least. Instead of black, the main body was
light tan. Where it should have been red, there was a strange mingled
orange-purple-gold vague pattern. Some of the “finishing touchs” will NEVER
be seen on a regulation Starfleet tunic. Worse, the fit was perfect, so I could not
refuse it on those grounds. But the COLORS!!

“This will ABSOLUTELY not do,” I fumed at Keerlu. “I said red and black,
not….not whatever THIS is! I want my money back.” ( That was when I
encountered the Second Rule of Acquisition.) I suffered through a full hour of
oily, insincere flattery .

“These colors suit you so well. You will be a fashion leader and set the pace for
the party.” Flattery Keerlu had in great abundance, but no refunds. Somewhere
in there my chrono chimed. It was time to catch my free ride!

“Come again soon – tell all your friends about how well Keerlu has treated you ”
He had the audacity to expect me to recommend him to my friends and give him
more orders. At that point, the only order I would happily deliver to Keerlu was
one to shut down his business forever.

Needless to say, everywhere I went wearing that blasted tunic, there were snickers
and sometimes outright guffaws. I had to wear the thing – (You don’t really want
to know what happened to my other tunics….) there was no choice. I have never
lly liked Cardassians, but at least they have the common sense to deliver what you

On my return trip, I had time to formulate a few rules of my own –

Rules of Defense when dealing with Ferengi.

Rule 1: Never depend on a Ferengi when you need something very badly. (They
will say they have it, even if they don’t. Furthermore, they will charge ten times
its worth.)

Rule 2: Always expect to get cheated – because you will be cheated.

Rule 3: Never give a Ferengi credits until he has delivered what you actually

Rule 4: Best of all, shop somewhere else, anywhere else.

I hope this will be of use to anyone faced with future shopping expeditions,
particularly if the shop keeper is Ferengi!


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