After our love chair adventure (see yesterday’s Dollop if you’re confused) me, Sean and Ben went to a music shop to buy a new keyboard for The Young’uns tour, which starts next week, although you’ll all know that, because you’ve already got your tickets for one of the gigs, obviously. If you have enjoyed these free Dollops, then you can show your appreciation by coming to one of the gigs, otherwise I might be forced to sell my computer to make ends meet, and there’ll be no more Dollops. I know that some of you might be a bit put off by the fact that there’ll be two other people sharing the stage with me, and that you’d rather it just be me for ninety minutes talking about kettles and going to the shops, but think of you coming to this gig as an investment in the possibility of one day making that a reality, because if I have enough money then I’ll be able to concentrate on putting together such a solo show in the future. It is important to support The Young’uns in order to support my future solo career, so please buy a ticket and try and tolerate the other two, if only to help make my ninety minute stand-up show about my kettle a reality. But if you really can’t bare listening to Sean talking and singing about his dead grandmother, then you don’t have to come to the gig, just buy a ticket and stay at home and wait for the Young’uns Podcast to be released, where I will have diligently edited the other two’s nonsense out, as I know that this is what people really want.
We wanted to sell our old keyboard and buy a new one, and we hoped that we could do both at our local music shop. We did some internet research before setting off to find out how much the old keyboard was selling for, and also to ascertain the price of the new keyboard. Upon entering the music shop, we noticed that the price of the keyboard was quite a lot higher than it was at other stores. However, we ideally wanted to sort out the purchase there and then and part-exchange it for the old keyboard, rather than having to faff around with Ebay, which would involve having to wait for buyers and bids, and then sorting out postage and packaging. But the price was ridiculously high. I anticipated getting about £200 for the old keyboard, and even knocking £200 off the price for the new keyboard would still only mean that we’d paid the full price for it, given that the keyboard was priced £200 higher in this shop.
If I was by myself, I might have given up and walked out of the shop,. Perhaps I might make some very diffident enquiry about whether we could maybe get the price of the keyboard down a bit, but I don’t think I’d possess the requisite confidence or staying power to properly haggle. I turned to the other two to suggest that we left the shop, but Ben had already started purposefully marching towards the counter.
By the time I’d joined him at the counter, mere seconds later, he had already talked the man into knocking £100 off the price. But he wasn’t finished yet. Ben proceeded to execute some highly impressive heckling tactics. It was me who was buying the keyboard, but it was very much Ben who was in control of the situation. After a further couple of minutes of impressive haggling, Ben got the price down by another £100. He had now got the price down to match the price set by the other stores which we’d researched online. Ben had also managed to get them to take the keyboard for £250, which was better than I’d anticipated, given that it was an old model. Brilliant, I thought, and reached into my bag for my card. But then I felt Ben tug my arm.
“Come on lads, we’re walking,” he said, and proceeded to march in the direction of the door. Sean and I followed, even though I was happy to accept the price they were offering. It would be more of a hassle to sell the old keyboard on Ebay, and at least this way we’d take care of both buying and selling, and end up in profit. But Ben had said “we’re walking,” with the kind of authority that I’d not heard from him before.
But, Ben’s ploy completely worked, for just as we were reaching the door the called us back, and knocked another £50 off the keyboard.
“Now you’re talking my language,” Ben said, again with the kind of confident swagger in his voice that I’d never heard from him before. I once again reached into my bag to retreave my card to pay, but it transpired that when Ben had said, “now you’re talking my language,” that hadn’t meant that the haggling had finished.
It went on for another ten minutes. At first Sean and I felt a bit awkward and embarrassed, but as time went on I began to really start enjoying it. It was clear that both Ben and the man were rather enjoying the haggling, and I began to start appreciating it as a sport. We were watching two heavy-weight hagglers at their very best. I’m pretty sure that the haggle became so compelling that other people in the shop turned to spectate. Ben and the man kept doing things like, stepping towards and away from each other, moving closer if they felt as if a deal was maybe being reached, but then one of them would turn away and take a couple of steps back, until the other one backed down and presented a new offer. They were clearly both enjoying themselves, because they were properly bantering away with each other as they haggled. This sport had everything: drama, physical and verbal theatre .
For the last five minutes of the haggle, they were essentially quibbling over £5. Ben had managed to knock a further £70 off the price, but was still endeavouring to talk the man down by another £5, but the man was having none of it. Neither of them were budging. Eventually the man agreed to knock an extra pound off, but stated in a very self-assured voice that this was definitely his final offer. Ben accepted, they shook hands, and I was finally allowed to get my card out and pay, shaking slightly with the adrenalin and excitement of it all.
As I paid, Ben and the man continued to banter with each other. Whenever Sean or I tried interacting with the man, it was clear that he didn’t hold the same respect for us, viewing us merely as ordinary, common garden shoppers, whereas he clearly had proper respect for Ben, seemingly impressed by his haggling abilities.
Ben is a music technology teacher and buys a lot of instruments for the college, and so has cottoned onto the fact that people in music shops are used to haggling over the price of equipment, something which I’d never really considered before. I was massively impressed with this other side to Ben that I’d not seen before, and when we got home I snuggled him extra hard in the love chair to show my gratitude, which, let’s face it, is probably the reason why he’d haggled so well on my behalf.
As much as I enjoyed the haggling experience, I hope that Ben doesn’t let this success go to his head and start haggling in other places. We are going out to a restaurant and some pubs tonight, and as fun as the haggling was, it does take up quite a bit of time, and does make you a lot more conspicuous, and I am already conspicuous enough being in The Young’uns and being the creator of David’s Daily Digital Dollop, which obviously garners me a lot of attention from adoring fans.
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