It didnt occur to me that the day after Easter might be a good time to hunt the supermarkets for marked-down bargain-priced lamb. The missus has developed a taste for lamb. I’m indifferent. Striated muscle tissue is striated muscle tissue. Beef, pork, chicken, whatever…if it’s meat and it’s cheap, I’m there. (Exception: Spam. Just not feelin’ it.) Anyway, I’m in the meat department trolling for bargains when I spy a 6# boneless leg of lamb about the size of a soccer ball. Organic, too. Price? Marked down to $6.99/#. I flag the wife..”You like lamb, what do you think?” She looks at the package and says that she’d like it, and that its a decent price, but thats still a good chunk of coin. Hmmmm. “Well, what would the price have to be where you’d feel that you absolutely must have it and cannot turn it down?” Thrityfive bucks, she says. I start looking for the meat department manager, and she takes off for the rest of her shopping. She likes a bargain as much as the next gal, but she doesn’t like the haggling process itself…maybe it’s awkward, maybe its embarassing. Who knows? But I figure the worst that will happen is they say no and thats the end of it. What are they gonna do? Ban me from the store? I catch the attention of someone in a white smock.
“You the manager?”, I inquire?
“No, Im the [whatever the term is for the person running the counter that day]. Can I help you with something?”
“I like this hunk o’ lamb, I was wondering if you could do a little better on it.”
“It’s a big hunk of meat for someone to buy. It’s already marked down to get it out of here but it’s just going to sit there. If you can do a little better I’d take it.”
She looks askance at one of the other employees. She asks him if the department manager is around. She’s gone for the day, he says. I smell opportunity.
“C’mon”, I cajole, “Take some initiative! Make a command decision!”
“How about $4.99 a pound? That’d be thirty dollars.”
She comments that in a day or two it would wind up going to the local food bank anyway.
The wife has been hovering an aisle or two over. I bring her the lamb and tell her of my glorious conquest. She is suitably, and properly, impressed. I bask in the accolades and praise. You know the scene in the gladiator movies where the guy rides down the main street in his chariot with flags fluttering, the crowds cheering, and a big panoramic sweep of the city celebrating? Yeah, it’s like that. I turn grocery shopping into a Leni Riefenstahl experience. (We could call it “Triumph Of The Grill”)
Not quite the coup as last years Meat Extravaganza, but still pretty good to knock what was originally $9.99/#, reduced to $6.99/#, down to the basement of $4.99/#.
I mention it for two reasons. The first, honestly, is that I like to brag about this sort of thing. :::shrug:::: Its childish, but I take immense satisfaction at getting a really good bargain. Secondly, there’s an important lesson here – it doesn’t hurt to ask for a better price and it often pays off. Yeah, it might seem embarrassing or uncomfortable to try and convince someone to knock a few bucks off a chunk of meat but, you know, I don’t have a problem with it. The way things are these days you have to be either pretty well off or way too self-conscious to just pay retail prices for things.
For the sake of providing this story with an even happier ending: