New York city is a wonderland. The lights, the hustle, the people - it just grows on you! Our first visit to this wonderful city was in the biting cold winter. And so, it was but natural to try and visit there when the days are long, and the dun god stays with us a little longer!
And this time, we wanted to be tourist-y. And we saw this open-top buses going around and decided that it would be the best way to see all of New York. ( And it would also be the safest way to keep our spouses at a good distance from all those shops! :) ). So, in the mass of people swirling all around us, we found the uniformed sales guy of one of the open top bus tour company. and then we patiently stood around him as he opened the brochure, showed us all the routes, and all the additional things of the plan. My eyes, were going all around the brochure, looking for the one most important thing, the cost of this! ( I am pretty sure that all the other's eyes were also going round and round searching for the same! :) ). Finally found it - there it was, hidden among the colorful "!" and the "!!" - the number written after a $sign. It was 53$. A quick mental calculation ( backed by one of us who stepped back and did on his iphone :) ) arrived at $318 for 6 of us.
The rep was quite happy, and like an experienced rep, gave us our 6 seconds of private thoughts discussing the total cost. When he came back, we had decided - we were going to go ahead with it.
Credit cards were handed over, and the rep was sliding them through the machine. And one of us couldn't resist ask this ( for the rest of us, it was running in our minds :) - we just couldn't bring this out! ) " So, we are 6 of us, what discount do you give us? do we get a consolidated 6 tickets at $300?"
We were ready for a frowned "No", a rough shake of head, even feigning ignorance of our question. But nothing could have prepared us for the response. It was a classic Russell Peters moment. :)
The sales rep looked up with a beaming smile, and said "Baaaboooojiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!" It was an instant recognition of where we came from!. I couldn't but help bursting out with laugh! "No baaabujiiiii.. we cant do it!!! :) Babuuuuuuuuuuuuujiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!" :):):)
The humor in the situation hit me instantly. Imagine New York City visited by 1000's, nay, 10s of 1000's of people everyday, and one question can spark recognition of an entire set of people! Brilliant. The most intriguing part was, as much as were we embarrassed at being called Babuji, i don't think the sales rep meant it in a derogatory way. It was just a friendly conversation. There was no sarcasm, there was no derogation, no humiliation - just a good sense of humor and a conversation between friends.
We did get the tickets - without any discount, and we did make the city tour. And i think this incident made it as much enjoyable as any other!
Recently, i had another chance to enjoy this moment. One of our friends had moved back to India form US and had given us the responsibility of selling off their car child seats. We had an enquiry about this from an India couple. We had our own travel plans that day and hence decided to meet them on our way, near their place of stay.
The meeting was in downtown Boston, quite near the waters. And my BlackBerry app told me that the only ends that residents of that area would try to meet might be of their clothes :) - It was quite a well off area. Few minutes later a Mercedes Benz pulls up behind us. One of those new swanky version, with in built GPS and all the bells an whistles. The potential buyers get out of their car, smiles and pleasant hellos are exchanged. They examine the car seat, the retail price of which are in multiple 100 $$. We had them listed for a throwaway price of 20$. We were more interested in getting that to people who could use them than having them stocked at our house.
Back to this couple, who live in a posh area, travel in luxury cars and hopefully will find good use of the car seat they decided to take from us. The seat is moved to their car. The lady takes her bag, opens the purse, and then looks up to us and asks
"Is it negotiable?"