I have been involved in some bargaining sessions of various sorts in my life. Never though have I ever before bargained over the price of some consumer item with a merchant in a retail establishment. Previously, the clerk simply told me the price of the item, whatever it was, and I wrote a check. Or passed over a card. I was determined to learn how to bargain over consumer goods in Enrique Ramirez Market in connection with the purchase of some very spiffy new cowboy boots.
In preparation for the showdown over those boots, I spent two days working on my bargaining vocabulary in Spanish. For example, I simply memorized the sentence, “Eso es mas de lo que puedo gastar.” [“That is more than I can spend.”] I was set on that sentence as my opener no matter what. Then I had various other phrases memorized for use depending upon how things went from there assuming I did not get thrown out of the shoe section of the market, and I knew that would not happen.
I know. I know. You are waiting to hear about another language barrier induced catastrophe for Señor Steve. Not so. I persuaded the man to knock fifty pesos off the price of those boots. It does not sound like much. But believe me. This may have been no step at all for mankind, but it was a giant leap for Señor Steve.
For the information of the curious, I paid 700 pesos for very high quality, ready made boots. Our neighboring city of Leon is one of the boot, shoe, and leather capitals of the world. Seven hundred pesos is about $54.00.
I wonder if those poor people selling stuff in that market realize the gravity of the trouble they are in now that I am getting the hang of this bargaining thing.