I'm preparing for a Lunar New Year's party tonight at the house with 40 accepted gaysians on Facebook. I cut back on my usual party spend and really evaluated everything I bought. Price comparisons, traveling around town - I wanted to make sure I got the best deals on decorations and liquor.
Last week, during the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown, I found a really cheap lantern store selling 10 inch lanterns for a dollar each or 12 for $10. But I still wanted to haggle since I was buying $25 worth of things which includes these two very gay looking horses....perfect.
I used my usual sales voice, "could you give me a discount for good luck for the new year?"
The store owner countered, "I should be charging you more for the new year so that I make more money!" I laughed and she rounded down the price by a dollar. I was distracted by people walking back and forth and responded, "I'll take it!"
Charles looked at me and I knew what he was thinking, I did a terrible job at haggling. But whatever. I spent $24 on lanterns and gay horse decor for our gay horse new years party and I was pretty happy with it.
While putting up the lanterns today, I realized that I wanted more. And I justified that $10 was worth making the hallway look amazing. I drove back to the store where another worker reminded me that I could buy 12 lanterns for $10. I wanted to get a deal this time. The owner came out and I asked her if she remembered me. She said she did.
I negotiated - "could I get these lanterns for $10?" She refused and I negotiated by taking out two mid sized lanterns and traded it for a smaller one.
She agreed... but reluctantly. With a smile she said, "don't come back here."
"... you don't want me to come back? what if I want to buy more?" She was quiet, but still had a smile.
"Alright.. I'll just go to another store." I handed her my $10 bill and walked out confused. I did the math and at the end I didn't really get a deal because the 2 free lanterns that I would have gotten for buying $10 was traded in for one large lantern that was worth $1.75 - Essentially, I was short changed by $.25.
I read the reviews on yelp while contemplating my own unwritten review and found this statement "The shop owner lady is real nice. She's one of the few nice vendors you'll come across." And I began to dissect what happened.
She didn't like me. She probably felt like I was out to cheat her even though I spent $34 on paper and sticks. But what could I do or say about this? She didn't like my energy and asked me never to come back which is what I've done to many people who rubbed me the wrong way in my house. I guess the spirit of bargaining in Chinatown was misinterpreted as theft and I'm left feeling like a white person who inadvertently insulted and took advantage of someone... with nothing left to do but wonder if I should have left a larger tip... because that would make things right.
Anyway - 2014 is starting out pretty rough, but I am pleased and humored at myself regarding other things. I found this huge branch on the sidewalk in the warehouse district and put in my backseat with it sticking out the window. I drove carefully because any car driving to my left would get scratched by the branches. That night I hung red envelops while listening to the Mulan soundtrack in Chinese.
It hangs above the stairway. It's perfect.
To add to that a new friend made us lanterns FROM SCRATCH. He said he won't be coming to the party because large groups overwhelm him, but this is his contribution. I'm pretty thankful.
When all is done, I just want to drink and play games.