The Price is Not Right

The Lazer Speaks

I’ve never been a big coupon guy….Oh, who am I kidding, I have always been a big coupon guy. I loved the Entertainment Book with all the coupons for hotels and restaurants. I love the coupons that Macy’s sends in the mail. I love saving money, and I hate spending money that doesn’t have to be spent. So, I was overjoyed when I went to Macy’s and found some sport coats on sale that I was also able to use my coupons for. Being a man mostly of leisure now, sport coats are the thing!

I had the exact sport coat before and I couldn’t remember if I got a large or an extra-large, so figuring that buying with the hope that I would lose weight was a bad strategy, I opted for the extra-large. When I got home, I realized that my old jacket was a large, not an extra-large and even though I tried them on at the store, I got the extra-large anyway. The coats were boxy, and the cuffs hung too low, I felt like someone in a tent. So, I thought, hey, maybe a tailor could help?

In the city, there are tailors on every street. It’s unbelievable! How can that be? How do they compete? Well, I went to the one closest to me. A nice, older gentleman with a quiet smile, and an interesting backstory coming to this country and making a life. I felt in good hands. He measured, he adjusted, he pinned. All the things a good tailor should do. And then I left feeling like I made the right choice.

A week later I went back, but he informed me that he was still working on the last jacket. No problem, I said, and oh, by the way, how much will it cost? You see when we first met, I neglected to ask this question, and now was curious. I did not have a ticket like a normal dry cleaner, he simply took my name and number. He turned and looked at me with that sweet smile and said the jackets were a lot of work, much sewing and cutting, and that the work would be $360. I quickly remembered that I had only paid $210 for all three jackets with my coupons and looked at him in astonishment. I told him how could that be? I paid $140 less to buy them brand new. But I was told that there was much cutting and sewing! I walked out dazed.

I rolled it over and over in my mind every time I went to the bank to take the money out to pay this Thief of Baghdad. And then I would walk away from the bank. Finally, I realized, why pay this guy $360 when I can buy new jackets in the size I should have gotten in the first place for $210. So, when the Thief called, I told him to keep the jackets and that’s when I learned that $360 was only a starting point. This was how he did business; so, I said $200, he said $300; I said $200; he said $250; I said $200; he said $210; I said done. Whew, I was exhausted. I didn’t like this haggling. I felt like I was in some Turkish bazaar. All I wanted was my damn jackets tailored, which should have cost about $75.

In the end, I picked up the jackets and my tailor friend, he’s a genius, he smiles and says he’s going on vacation and looks forward to helping me in the future! I looked at this sweet old man who had out-negotiated me soundly and wished him a good vacation, and secretly whispered to myself to never go to this place again. The price was definitely not right!

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