• Haggling for Hot Dogs

    by  •  • Posterous

    Buying a hot dog is an essential, unquestionable transaction, the lowest common denominator of American commerce. The sale of a hot dog delivers about the same amount of marginal satisfaction to the buyer, who gets — by my reckoning — about 40 cents worth of food, heated and assembled nicely for $1.75, and to the vendor, who makes something like $1.35 for three moves — unfolding a bun, tonging a hot dog, and splashing on some relish. No sales, no specials, no markdowns. Day in, day out, clear and glorious. No one screws anyone. The emptor is plenty caveat.

    That’s why I wanted a deal.

    I’ve always understood that certain transactions are designed to be pushed back and forth, made with the expectation of counteroffer, laid on the table in order to be hashed out for weeks or bickered over for mere minutes in the halo of a streetlight. I like getting my price, something that acknowledges my end, makes me feel my business is appreciated. In my time I’ve struck deals with landlords, car mechanics, electricians, house painters, cable guys, real estate agents, drug dealers, with bullies, bosses, pimps, pit bosses, and local politicians. These people expect no less; negotiation is their creed. But I wanted to test myself.

    Read it. It rocks.

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