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The New York Experience

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Roving Rube

October 1, 2003

Broadway Cameras, Times Square

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Camera/electronic stores abound in all the tourist areas, and used to be known for their frequent "going-out-of-business" sales; we think some kind of regulation was passed so they have to wait a decent interval between closings, but the sign over this one seems pretty portable.

The Rube tries to avoid them because of his low sales resistance, but they once convinced him to buy two batteries for his film camera, and five years later he still has that unused second battery; then other time he was just standing outside one and they tried to sell him a telephoto lens for his point-and-shoot digital -- one that was specifically designed not to allow that, as the extra weight is liable to break off the whole barrel. Then another time when he had just gotten his digital and obsessively cleaned the lens every five minutes, and there was no real camera stores nearby, he went in a Times Square place to get some, and no prices were marked and he ended up paying what seemed like a lot for some alcohol and tissue paper.

One of his co-workers went into one under similar circumstances, and they gave her a price and she said, "oh come on, I'm a New Yorker," and they reduced it to a reasonable amount. So maybe haggling is expected.


Correction to above, submitted 10/01/03:

I feel I must correct some false information that is being propagated on your website.

If, as I suspect, I am the co-worker to whom you allude in today's story about Times Square Electronics stores, I'm sorry to tell you that you got the story wrong. Perhaps it is telling that you put a happy ending on it. There was no happy ending!!!

I think I was shopping for a simple cable, something that Radio Shack might sell for $5.99. I think the Times Square store was asking $19.00. I didn't haggle. They didn't offer me a lower price. I didn't get the cable. It's possible that if I had tried that magic sentence, "Is this price at all negotiable?" I might have fared better, but I doubt it. And at the time, I didn't know about the magic sentence.*

Yours for truth in all things,

A Concerned Reader

*Editor's note: A full explanation of the "magic sentence" referred to above can be found in a wonderful new book, "By Yard Sales to The Stars", right now being offered on eBay at a buy-it-now price. This book is written by the Rube's Dad. The Rube gave advance copies to his coworkers, and a week later they were distracting him from getting his work done, with their talking amongst themselves about how great a book it was.

And yes, it does seem telling that the Rube misremembered the camera story with a happy ending.

All content �2003 on behalf of its creators.

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