“That shirt is cute,” I say to my husband as we wait to be seated at Bob Evans. But, I can’t buy another t-shirt, even if it has bacon on it, because I already have 487.
“I like the trucker hat with Bob Evans on it. But, $9.99 is too much money,” he says. He doesn’t need another hat, he already has 488.
When we are seated and looking over the menus he says, “Maybe I can talk them down.”
“Talk who down?”
“Bob Evans, on the hat,” he says, still deciding between country fried steak and an omelet.
“There is no Bob Evans, there is no bartering here.”
“Sure there is, that’s what country folk do—they haggle.”
“We aren’t country folk, what the fuck are you talking about? You grew up in the projects; I grew up on the East Side. We might live in a trailer, but we aren’t country folk,” I say staring at him. He won’t look at me, he’s acting like he’s still looking at the menu. He isn’t looking at the menu, he’s digging his heels in. I continue to stare, he won’t look up. Finally, our waiter comes.
“What do you think, James?” he asks our server.
“Jesus Christ,” I sigh and put my menu down. James looks confused.
“You think the manager would come down on that trucker hat over there by the cash register?”
“You know, it says it costs $9.99. I’m willing to give him $5.99.”
“You can ask him,” James says, shrugging his shoulders.
“No, no you can’t. We are at Levis Commons in freaking Perrysburg for fucks sake! Really? You want to barter with a manager for a trucker hat? There is no bartering at Levis Commons. There are UPC codes and prices set by corporate, that’s what there is. This isn’t a pickup truck parked at some farmer’s market,” I bellow as James hurries away to get our coffee.
“They have a farm.”
“It’s a corporate farm, it’s a façade, Bob Evans is dead and that shit isn’t real. Do not do this, it is stupid and embarrassing.”
“Chris never pays full price for anything. I bet they’ll do it.”
“Chris is country folk, Chris does live in the country, he shops at swap meets for real! He lives by a cornfield. We live in Walbridge, we have sewers—no.”
As we walk to the cash register, he stops to talk to the manager.
“I am waiting in the car, I can’t believe you are doing this,” I say.
“I won’t unlock it, nothing wrong with haggling.”
I stand by the register and wait. After a few minutes he stands beside me.
“He said the UPC codes are preprogrammed and they can’t override them.”
I don’t say anything. I actually feel bad for him, he seems kind of sad. When we get in the car he hits the steering wheel and yells, “Pie!”
“Next time I’ll say, ‘I’ll give you the $9.99 for the hat, if you give me a piece of pie and don’t ring it up.’ See, that’s how you get around them UPC’s,” he says, smiling in victory and lighting a cigarette.
“I hate you.”