Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Boring Day plus Bartering

Yesterday was mostly uninteresting. I woke up, read, posted, ate, ran errands, looked at cameras, watched Monty Python and the Meaning of Life, (discovered the meaning of life,) and not much else.

I decided I wanted to buy the Canon PowerShot S90, and it will be arriving at my house in a week or so.

The one interesting story of the day comes from running errands.

The right strap on my backpack is almost torn through. My mom tried to fix it with normal needle-and-thread work, but was unsuccessful, so my dad recommend that I take it to a shoe repair place. They would know how to sew things that get as much wear and tear as my backpack strap really well. I figured my black dress shoes could use some fixing as well, so I should see what the shoe repair places could do.

The first place I took my backpack and shoes is the shoe repair shop in the Golden Eagle Shopping Center (Petaluma). I go into this little place, not sure what to expect. After I walk in, a short, dark, mustachioed Indian man comes up to me, and the scene unfolds roughly as follows:

"Ah! Johnson and Murphy shoes! Very nice. Good quality. You need these shoes fixed? What is wrong with them?"

"Well, the sole is starting to come off on this shoe here. I was wondering if you could fix it."

"Yes, we will have to replace this half of the sole here. We take off the front of the soles and put in new leather. Your soles also need replacing. They are getting warn here and here and here. You need to replace them. You know, I could just stitch up this area here, but there are holes here. You know, I would stitch them and give them back to you and you would be right back here tomorrow with a broken shoe. No, we can put new soles in, and, if you really want to do a good job, we can put some nice new rubber on over the soles so they will last longer. I can do it for $85."

"Oh. Well I-"

"Normally 85, but for you, for you $80."

"For one shoe?!"

"No no no. For both shoes $80."

"Ok. Well I need to think about the shoes, but what I really need fixed more urgently is this backpack strap. Do you think you could do it?"

"What? You just want me to sew it here?"

"Yeah. Just so it's like this one on the left. How much would that cost?"

"Ah. Ok. Well, for you I can do it. $10."

"Ok. Well, I need to think about it. I will probably come back tomorrow. Will you be here tomorrow?"

"I can do these shoes for $80, and I can have them done for you tomorrow."

"Well, I really need to think about it. It's not really mine it's my parents'-"

"Ah! You're a student, yes? Well, for you I can give you a special discount. I can do both shoes. Tomorrow. $50. Usually I do $85. For you, $50 and the backpack for $10."

"I will think about it. I will probably be back in tomorrow."

"Well, how much were you thinking for the shoes?"

"Umm...I don't know. Maybe like $40."

"Ok. Well, for you, I can do that. I can do it for $40. 40 for the shoes, 10 for the backpack, $50 together for you. I can take them now, and you can have them back tomorrow. $50."

"$50 for both? Ok. I will think about it and probably be back tomorrow. Thank you!"

I took the shoes and backpack to another place over on the Boulevard. The guy there was a big, burly Hispanic guy who said basically nothing. When I asked about prices, he offered me $5.95 for the backpack, $48 for the shoes. There was no bartering. I let him do the backpack, and just figured the shoes weren't worth it. The backpack will be done on Tuesday.

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