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James Sogi on Negotiating
Amid the bustle and press of the sidewalk in a busy intersection on Canal street in downtown New York a young Chinese lady nervously opened her black garbage bag full of Yves St. Laurent purses. My trading group, (daughter and wife) were on a mission to get a purse for a gift for a friend back home. We arranged to work the trade by having each of us in turn go up and low ball the street merchant and not take her offer to soften up the offer. You know how frustrating it is not to have your offer filled when you are under pressure. We watched as the young lady quoted $35 to the Japanese tourists, $25 to the Midwestern tourists. She was nervous as she glanced both ways for the cops cruising. My daughter went up and took her time looking at about 3 or 4 purses and with a look of interest, bid $10. The vendor had situated herself right in the middle of the cross walk and the crowd thronged by. The offer immediately came down to $15. My daughter raised the bid to $11. No sale, so she stomped off. A number of other prospective buyers had watched the transaction. My turn was next. I went up to her and bid $10. She insisted on $15. I raised the bid to $11 pointing out that the purse came out of a dirty garbage bag, and that there were cops just up the block. The offer came down to $14. I waived $12 in her face and said that's all the money I had. She insisted on $14, but as soon as she touched the money, I dropped the money and was off with the goods, thus turning the meals for a lifetime lessons from the Spec list into a small bowl of noodles for the day. Upon later inspection we discovered that the purse had genuine leather, and as our happy friend back home noted, the purse had the "Paris" designation on the inside, just like the real $900 originals.