Last week my wife and I went on a vacation to Cancun with four other couples for a little R&R. Yet, even in the midst of warm weather and an all inclusive resort, I couldn't help but think about the Lockout negotiations during one bartering experience.
If you've never been to Mexico let me explain; every price is negotiable. Whether it's the souvenir store, your bar tab, or buying a pizza off a guy on a moped at 3am it's all the same; you can probably barter your way down in price. Most of the prices are very fair and extremely cheap, so the amount of displeasure you have in paying for a $5 dollar pizza or a $10 dollar bar tab is minimal. However, there is one experience that just irked me the wrong way.
One morning after a night of heavy drinking I thought I'd do a nice thing and run down to the mini-mart and grab Gatorades for everyone, and then head to the local souvenir store to pick up a cheap piece of artwork (think your typical Aztec mask) that my wife wanted to take back. After purchasing the Gatorades I head over to the open flea-market like souvenir shop to purchase this small Aztec mask.
When I walk in another tourist is walking out of the store with EXACTLY the piece of art I wanted to purchase. When I inquired how much he paid for it he said to me "They have it marked at $20, but I got it for 5." As this conversation was taking place two of the store's salesmen were eyeing us down, so when the other tourist left (after showing me where he found his little Aztec mask) I was quickly assaulted.
Salesmen "You like?? That costs $20"
Me: "I understand that's the sticker price, but that gentleman just bought the same thing for 5 dollars. How about we skip this back and forth and I'll pay $5 and get out of here."
Salesmen "You don't understand. He only had $5 on him. This costs you 18 dollars."
Me: "I'm not paying 18 dollars for this when he just walked out with it for five dollars."
This went back and forth for what seemed like five minutes with me explaining to him that I just watched him sell it for 5 dollars, and he would counter that I had more money than that guy on me and would lower the price by about a dollar each time. At this point I thought to myself "I don't really want to go another 15 minutes down the road to the next shop...and this conversation is wasting my vacation time....I should probably just accept his offer of 8 dollars for it. Just when I was thinking it over is when he pulled this one on me:
Salesmen: "10 dollars final offer. Take it or get out."
Me: "You just offered 8 dollars for it...now you're going to raise it by two?"
Salesmen: "You're wasting my time so I raised it. Take it or get out."
Two seconds beforehand I was ready to accept defeat and pay the 8 dollars, but now I was furious. It wasn't about the two dollar difference between his eight and ten dollar offers. It was about the tone in his voice. It was about the smirk he had on his face as if to say "I got you." It was about how when I was thinking through my options he decided to take all the options out of my court and put them into his. And then punish me for considering my options. And then I realized that this never was even a fair negotiation, but that he wasn't going to let me walk out with it for five dollars. As I turned to walk out the door I heard one last reply:
Salesmen: "Okay okay 8 dollars..."
I continued to walk out the door and left Cancun without the Aztec mask.
....To the NHL and NHLPA...there's a lesson in there somewhere