I have a plan so cunning you can pin a tail on it and call it a weasel.
Or that is – I had a plan. And it worked. Usually, I get a calendar for Christmas. Often, Edward Gorey related from Sid Swoorch. Last year, a fantastic old sci-fi/horror movie poster calendar from Sheri. This year I didn’t get one (and I’m not pointing fingers here or anything) so I came up with an idea. I got in the mail from Greenpeace (I throw $40 in the mail for them now and again though I haven’t lately) a shitty little 2004 calendar (in which the last of the week is “Satuday”) that I’ve been using to keep track of my schedule, but I have been planning to wait for Oscars to have 75% off their calendars, as they always do some time after January. At worst, they wouldn’t have any good themes and I’d be left with only tigers or WWF wrestler calendars. But I went down there today and they actually had two calendars that I had a hard time choosing betwixt: a Brian Froud goblin calendar and a Barry Moser gothic art calendar. I decided the goblin calendar was a bit more to my liking and took it to the desk, but it was $22 normally. I only had $4.37 in my pocket and I knew it, so when I went up to the counter I said “I’m not sure if I have enough money for this” longingly and tried to gauge the guy’s reaction and I put my pathetic collection of coins onto the counter. Would he be adamant about the price? He rang it up and it came to just over six dollars…let’s say $6.42 and he told me that. I gave him a split second to add…”but this is fine.” He didn’t, so I grabbed the gothic calendar which was $17.95 and I plopped it down with a “how about this one then?” Yeah, I can wear this guy down.
Now, normally, I don’t do this. I don’t haggle. I could never make it in an Indian bazaar because everyone would mark me for a stupid tourist and I would be heard to say “30,000 rupis for this blanket? Sure that’s fine.” I don’t like to haggle, or even the idea of haggling. Vendors, set your price. Include everything in that price. If I don’t like the price, I won’t buy the damn thing, and life will continue. Easy. This is why tipping irks me sometimes as well – especially in the states where you’re expected to tip everyone. I still tip but I refuse to waste my time worrying about how much is the “correct” amount etcetera etcetera. Anyway, people should just figure out how much they need to sell a product to cover their costs and make a decent living and that should be the set price for everyone. Not that I’m a fascist or anything.
And of course there are always exceptions. Today I reason that I only have $4.37 on me and if I can get a calendar then great, and if not then I may or may not come back later. I mean, they got tons of calendars here and it’s March, I figure I’m doing them a favour by taking one off their hands.. He rings up the gothic calendar and it’s just over five bucks. Again I make a sighing noise as if I’m thinking what to do, when in reality I’m just waiting for him to give me a deal. It pans out. He says “I think this will do. I’ll ring it up as $4.11 and it will come to $4.27 total.”
“Great!” I say.
So he takes the coins I’ve laid out but pushes back the last dime towards me in a very magnanimous gesture. Hey I could buy two marshmallow banana candies with that, but that’s not right. I slide the dime right back at him with my finger with my thanks.
Then a meteor hit the shop and killed us both.