I just walked to the flower shop in my neighborhood. I go there a couple of time a month, which is probably not as much as I should but enough to know the guys who work there. I try to speak a little bit of Arabic. They are always nice and fair.
Here, with much commerce, prices are not posted. The patron decides what the service or product is worth, says it fadal/i (here it is [m/f]), hands over the money, and walks away. If you underpay, there is a discussion, negotiation, or perhaps argument. This is the way that taxis, for example, function. I generally don’t have trouble with taxis because I know what the fares and rates should be. Today, at the flower stand, I got 15 roses to bring to friends who are having us over for dinner. I handed the florist 30LE (a 20 and a 10). He told me I overpaid, and handed me back 10LE. Wow! I don’t recall that every happening to me.
And then, things got better. I got asked directions in Arabic. I knew the place and street number and was able to answer correctly and coherently. Awesome.
So I am on a roll. And I think things are going to keep getting better...