Around 2 years ago I came across an ad, where 600 CDs were being listed as being on sale. I could tell that there was some really interesting music. At that point I hadn’t been keeping up with the developments in the latest music. So I think, it was through researching on which CD was worth buying, that I later on learnt what were the hip names to watch out for. Later on, I also started paying regular trips to second hand CD shops, and bargain bins. I think, that revival in my habit of buying music has seen my buy (and sell) hundreds of CDs.
At the same time I was amazed that there were so many obscure indie bands in that collection, and I also wondered if the seller was some pampered princess who just had a buying addiction. (But I also sometimes wonder that about myself.)
Recently, I’ve had to stop the trips to the cheap CDs. I finally found it too much of a hassle. And I have 400 items on sale, of which almost 300 are CDs. I set a cap on myself, that I should never have so much stock that I have to go beyond 400 items.
2 weeks ago, some guy with an incredibly high feedback rating bargained down my CDs and bought 2 CDs from me. I’ve had weird encounters with people who bargained down stuff, but I thought well $2 isn’t much, and I clear 2 CDs. So I said yes, payment was made quickly, the CDs were sent out quickly, everything was fine. Anyway I overcharged him for postage just to compensate.
Except that after that, 1 day after I sent out the CD, he sent out a testy message saying that I didn’t reply him after he paid up. I was a little annoyed by his impatience but then I noticed that he was the director of some SME. That really got my goat, that somebody earning such big bucks was going to haggle with me over small things.
So I wrote back, “Your CD is on the way. I know I gave you a $2 discount on the CDs. But I don't really know why a public accountant like you needs a $2 discount.”
At the same time I put that up on my facebook page, and some of my friends replied, “some people are like that, if you win it means that he loses,”
And I was hoping that he would see it as the trivial remark it was and think to himself, “I’ve got $2 from you, I can walk away now as a winner,” But I guessed that I would set him off, and I was right, although I’m a little surprised at how worked up he was.
“Hi, I am not quite why you need to make that comment. Anyone is entitled to ask for a discount, regardless of their financial status or profession. Are you insinuating if I told you I was a student without any income, you will give me a hefty discount, in the great name of a fairer distribution of income? Or that if you knew my profession you would have refused to sell me the CDs, let alone gave me the discount, but instead asked me politely to go to HMV and pay $30 for each of the cd?
I would have surmised anyone who has even heard of (insert obscure indie band) would be way too insouciant and unbothered to take a low jibe at someone who he doesn't even know as a person, but who chose to pass a sweeping judgement on me, on the obvious incongruity of someone like me asking for a discount. This utterly confounds me. Oh well...
May I know what profession are you in, or if you are a student, what profession you intend to be in?
Sent from my iPad”
Now that’s a fucking hilarious email if there was any.
At the same time, I saw that ad from 2 years ago which was selling stuff. It was 500 CDs instead of 600. Then I noticed something: that guy was the same person I had argued with. I’m just wondering, since I was eyeing some of his CDs, whether I should still go ahead and buy stuff from him, and see if he realizes that I’m the same person who insulted him. (Or rather wound him up.)
Anyway, this is what I wrote back to him, and I’m still waiting for his reply:
“Yes, it's about the financial status, not the profession. I'd say that having class is not about which obscure indie band you do or do not know, but rather it's the self knowledge that being fairly well to do, it's kinda cheap to be asking for another $2. I think I would have given you the discount anyway because if I were to discriminate based on class I'm just operating on your level. Although I must add that nobody who has managed to make my friends laugh so hard can be a truly awful person.
Are (obscure indie band) listeners (whatever that means) chin chye (I know what insouciant means but I prefer the Singlish version) enough to not pass a comment, but at the same time not chin chye enough to pay $7 for a CD, and that he has to bargain it down further? Well it gives me a headache to think about that but fortunately I have passed the CD on to somebody more suited to ponder that question.”