On Thursday I treated myself to the $3.49 fixed plate meal at my current favorite Indian veg. restaurant. It's on the west end of Devon, and the mood inside is very sattvic.
The quiet was interrupted by two men who burst in. They were carrying Christmas toys. The tall white one in the suit did the talking. The African American one in the cornrows kept quiet and watched.
The tall one tried to sell the Christmas toys to the cashier. "These are usually $34.95, but I'm selling them for $11 each. I only have six left. How many do you want? Two?
The woman was impassive. She looked skeptically at the toy. "No."
"Are you saying you don't like a good deal?" the man asked. He was high-energy. "Do you like a good deal?"
"Yes," said the woman quietly.
"Then how many do you want?"
The woman started to turn away when the cook walked over. She grabbed the toy and looked at it. "How much?" she asked.
"Eleven dollars each. How many do you want?"
"Two for eleven," she said. (Sitting at a nearby table, I couldn't help but let out a loud guffaw).
The man was shocked by her offer. "I can't do that," he stammered. "You're already getting a great deal." Then he remembered his spiel. "How many do you want?"
"Two for eleven." The cook would not budge. She was smiling.
And the man, having met his match, threw up his hands and walked out.
His apprentice followed.
They went east on Devon Avenue towards the heart of Little India/Pakistan, where they were sure to meet more expert bargainers. I didn't envy them at all.
As soon as they were gone, I looked over at the women and said, "Well done!"
We all giggled, and smiled from ear to ear.
And I felt sad to be leaving a neighborhood where things like this can happen.
Very sad indeed.