The Other I

July 31, 2010

Haggling deficit syndrome

Filed under: Growing Old,Just Stuff — theotheri @ 12:43 pm

For most of my life, I’ve felt pretty confidant about my ability to figure things out when I need to.  And I’m pretty good at explaining things, which I suppose is why I enjoyed teaching so much.

But I am a hopeless nervous wreck when it comes to negotiating.  Considering that it seems to be just as about deeply engrained in the human psyche as hunting and gathering, this seems to be a pretty fundamental deficit.  But so it is.

All I want is to be told the price of something so I can decide if I can afford it, and if I can afford it, if I want it that much.

Please don’t suggest I should haggle.

Over the years, Peter and I have developed a system that works better than most.  I’m the soft cop — frankly, I’d probably give away the store — but I’m good at getting a lot of information from sellers, and occasionally they offer concessions I think just because I seem so vulnerable.

But my confidence comes from knowing that I’m backed by a hard-cop type.  No one would call Peter over-trusting.

It was this combination that finally helped us unearth why we could not get regular electricity, water, and mail service to our newly built house.  It had been “denounced,” a secretive process that may have been unique to Spain, but which involved papers being “lost” by the town hall, and our incomplete ownership to a piece of real estate for which we had paid in full, and which had been negotiated for us by no less than two lawyers.

We are now negotiating a trade-in on our car.  By now we should be very good at it, but we just might be getting too old for this kind of caper.

Watch this space.

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1 Comment »

  1. has to do with self sufficiency for me – pride – denying vulnerability. when i was a nun and had to go to churches and “beg” at the door, i wanted to be swallowed up engulfed by my habit, could not make eye contact. perhaps exiting benefactors saw it as humility. is humility the same as humiliation? was always taught to be able to care for myself, think for myself. dependency was seen in my family as a sign of weakness. i was living in a country where being jewish, gay or anti-nazi meant you were exterminated. spent my younger years traveling to neighboring farms picking up clothes/food for individuals we were hiding later to be transported to argentina. this i could do to ask for someone else – this i can do. for myself – almost impossible. age and cancer have made this easier. i am beginning now to be able to go with begging bowl. it is a small bowl, but still, if refused, i regress immediately to the habit-engulfment syndrome. then i revert to self-pity. madness. but my sense it that this syndrome is not uniquely mine. kateri

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    Comment by kateritek — July 31, 2010 @ 3:19 pm | Reply


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