With images in my mind of Chana joining Batsheva and Auntie Paula at a ukulele-fest next summer, I stuck my head out the car window. "How much for the ukulele?" I asked in Hebrew. The guy looked confused. I pointed. "Over there. Like the small guitar". I wondered if maybe there was a different word in Hebrew for "ukelele", as I had just said the word while trying to put an Israeli spin on the pronunciation
I felt that 50nis (about $12.50) would be appropriate and was stunned when he said 130nis! "Oh, I didn't realize they were so expensive. Never mind". And then it got into a whole bargaining balagan with me saying I only wanted to pay 50 and him offering other amounts, telling me about his 7 children ("cue the line about the large family!"), showing the genuine wood of the guitar, telling me he wasn't going to make any money on the deal, etc. I was actually not really trying to bargain and was just trying to leave without running over the guy's foot (he must have been a door-to-door Fuller Brush salesman in a past life, because he used every trick in the book: "Step 1: put ukulele in car and push it back in every time lady tries to give it back to you").
Finally, Chana started saying, "Mommy, just drive away". And the guy yelled some number and I said, "Sorry, 50" and then, in an extremely cartoon-like moment, he said, "50" and then I said, "no, 50" and he bellowed "50!!!!!" and Chana said, "umm, Mommy, he just said 50". I was laughing so hard as we exchanged money for musical instrument. It is rare that life imitates Bugs Bunny so faithfully.
On the way home, Chana worried that we had paid too little ("the guy has 7 kids!"). Sharing the story when we got home, Penina agreed with Chana ("7 kids, Mommy!"). I will let my brother, Jay-the-well-known-economist, give his views on this (although I'm pretty sure I already know them).
Then Shalom Shachne, the player of many musical instruments, heard the story and saw the ukulele. And told us that it was it not a ukulele at all, just an extremely small guitar (which explains why the guy didn't know what I was initially asking about). After trying to tune it and finding that the thing refused to stay in tune for longer than a minute, he also said that I "certainly had not overpaid" from a merchandise standpoint.
On the plus side, I conducted the whole two minute negotiation in Hebrew. On the minus side, this may only show that I know how to say the number "50" in Hebrew :)
|"Uki" (shout-out to cousin Gil)|