I ordered the book. That was months ago. If you know what I mean. And waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I went online to Amazon.com and filed a complaint. I never received the book, I said. I was immediately refunded. I used that money to immediately reorder. This time I was closely tracking the delivery. One notice said, delivery attempted. Two days later the notice said, delivered. Delivered? I never received the book. I went to the post office. They gave me a print out. See? Delivered. They said. I talked to pretty much everyone in the building, including the landlord. No book, nowhere to be found. I figured either the post office lied to me, not very likely, or there is a Steve Jobs fan in the building. Or the delivery man himself is a Steve Jobs fan. I went online to Amazon. This time there was no refund. The book was delivered, they said. I did not get the book, I said.
Oh well, I thought.
Today I bought the book from this sidewalk bookseller. The cover price said 35 dollars. I haggled. I looked interested, then I walked away. The guy came after me. He said 30. I said 25. He said okay. I don't have the cash, I said. I need to get money from the bank. How long, he asked. Five minutes, I said. Then I reached into my pocket. I had 21 dollars. This is all I have, I said. You can have this right away and I will take the book. He thought for a split second. He looked at me. He took the money, and gave me the book. I could not believe it. I had just brought the price down by 14 dollars. When will you be back, he asked. When will you be back with the four dollars? Five minutes, I said. And I walked over to the ATM at the bank on the same block. On my way back I bought a mango lassi for two dollars. So I had a 10 dollar bill, a five dollar bill and three one dollar bills. 20 minus two is 18. I gave him three dollars. I was trying to get one dollar ahead. He took it. Then he grabbed my mango lassi. Can I have it, he asked. Sure, I said. He made it look like he gave me the book for 24 dollars when we had already brought the price down to 25 from 35. Mango lassi does not count for payment, it counts as hospitality.
I don't know if he got one dollar ahead, or I did. But I finally have the book now. This sidewalk bookseller just beat Amazon in delivery - instant - price - really low - and there is no way Amazon can match the experience.
Tip: try haggling.
"Where you from?" I asked as I walked away.
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