only suckers pay retail?

August 26, 2005
At the risk of thinking in stereotypes, if there's one thing that confirms my uptight WASPness, it's my absolute discomfort with wheeling and dealing at retail outlets.

Last night I did some quick price comparison before getting a camera for my mom. Staples, Target, and Best Buy all had it at the same price, but Staples was offering a free 128 meg memory card. I mentioned that I found that deal elsewhere to the salesperson at Best Buy (mostly to explain why I would be buying some accesories there but not the camera itself) and she said she thought they could match it, if I'd tell them who it was so they could verify the deal. And that's exactly what happened, she played dumb "Uh, yeah, does it come with the 128 disk whatever?" over the phone, and then knocked the price of the card off of my purchase.

For some reason that seems so strange to me, a little seedy somehow. Especially at a big retailer; I would have guessed that the price is handed down from on high from a corporate office. I've never worked retail (except for a bit of counter work at a pharmacy during middle school) so maybe I'm not aware that there's (a fixed amount of?) wiggle room in the price. Maybe I'm afraid of being thought of as "poor"? Maybe I'm afraid I won't be able to haggle well, that I'll have no response if they say "no sorry that's the final price" other than a sheepish "can't blame a guy for trying"? Maybe it's just my sense of order of the universe, that in a retail place, the price is the price is the price? I don't know.

News Headline of the Moment
The United States shut its consulate in [Nuevo Laredo] for a week early this month after drug gangs fired bazookas and raked each other with machine gun fire in a street battle.
Bazookas! In street battles! Life imitates "Grand Theft Auto"...who knew?

It reminds me of my 1988 trip to Mexico City, with a church band group...I was kind of nervous when the cops wanted to play tourguide, but they were just in it for the store kickbacks. I forget if they wanted tips or not.