National Geographic : 1957 Mar
326 Chestnut Vendor Has One Price; He Refuse, A paper cone of roasted nuts sells for a little less tl give himself away and I would find exactly what he wanted for the desk. And after all, he didn't know the desk was our objective; hadn't we discussed that only in pig Latin? The bargaining began. A price for all five items. Then for four. Then a different four. Then for three-the horse, the desk, the chan delier. Then horse, tray, and desk. Now I had the figure, just what he calculated the desk at. Throw out the tray, chandelier, and chair. Bargain for horse and desk. Keeping the horse in, of course, to make sure the dealer didn't know where our real interest lay. Flea Marketeer Yields at Last I raised my price a few hundred francs, the dealer came down a like amount. Gradually we approached a meeting point. We were 500 francs apart when he threw up his hands. "But M'sieu is merciless," he complained. "Nevertheless, it is a deal." We shook hands, and I paid. There is a forwarding office in the Marche Biron, and I ar ranged to have the desk crated and shipped home. The horse I left behind, promising to give instructions for its disposition. Privately I expected to aban don it right there. As we left the shop, the owner walked to the door with us. I didn't hear the exact words he said in farewell. They didn't sound like French. But he was smiling, and we waved a friendly goodbye as we walked to the Metro station. The French friend who had warned us against Flea Market wiles came to dinner that eve ning. When we mentioned the shop with the horse and the desk, he looked surprised. "But of course," he said, "It is owned by an acquaintance of mine, a very shrewd man. He keeps the horse to attract curi ous tourists. The desk I am also familiar with. How much did you pay?" "Not as much as you would expect," I said. "I am experi enced in matters such as this." And I described my system. s to Haggle "Deduct $10 for the horse," ian a dime. he said, "and tell me what you paid for the desk." I did. "Exactly what I told you," he laughed. "You have paid far too much. Look you, you know I am expert in this business. Be lieve me when I tell you that this desk, in the most expensive shop in Paris, could have been purchased for $50 less than you paid!" He was, I felt, a little too superior about the whole thing. But I laughed, and Jean laughed, and we enjoyed our dinner. "I owe you something for your warning," I told him. "We will send you a present." We left the next day, but not before I called the forwarding company. I hope he enjoyed that horse. We were on the plane before either of us felt like mentioning the subject again. "You know," said Jean, "I didn't want to tell you, but I feared the worst when that shopkeeper said goodbye." "Why?" I asked. "What did he say?" "'Oodgay eyebay. Anymay anksthay!'"