1) To learn to cook
2) To become an excellent negotiator
3) To become fluent in Spanish
Today, at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market all of these goals seemed to effortlessly collide. Last Wednesday I used the Farmer’s Market to challenge myself to negotiate (See “Seller’s Market”). But last week I was shopping for my mom, as my own culinary skills had yet to be honed. To improve them I began a basic cooking class on Saturday at The New School of Cooking in Culver City. So far I’ve only learned how to make a salad. I’m no Jean George. But to practice both my cooking and my haggling I decided to pick up some fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Market.
Carrots at 33% off, eggs at 25% off, and salad at 40% off could not be topped by the $1 I saved at the cherry stand. Cherries were going for $6 a pound. Almost reflexively, I approached with a five-dollar bill, and politely asked one of the two women if she was offering any discounts. As I approached I noticed that the other woman was speaking to a customer in Spanish, so when the women conferred about the discount I had asked for I asked them both, “una libra por cinco?” (One pound for five).
A little taken aback, the woman replied, “No, no. One for six, you buy more I give you a discount.”
Refusing to let go of this opportunity to practice both Spanish and negotiating I proceeded,
“Cuanto cuestan dos?” (How much for two?)
“Diez dollares,” (Ten dollars) she replied, giving into my Spanish but refusing to offer any deal better than that which was advertised in red market on the side of her cherry stand.
“Pero, yo quiero algo especial.” (But, I want something special.) Both women laughed and glanced at one another.
“Ok.” The woman said taking my five and handing me the cherries.
A dollar saved. A language practiced. Now, if I can just manage to make a salad that won’t find it’s way into the garbage disposal or give my family food poisoning.