Public Transacting

I recently had the pleasure of witnessing a negotiation at a local coffee shop between two gentlemen (heroes) regarding the sale of bicycle parts. From what I could gather, these bicycle parts were highly valued by both parties, for reasons that were not completely comprehensible to me. Some of the reasons may have been “Italian,” “vintage,” and “mine.” Both gentlemen took great pains to conduct themselves in a respectable manner, but both were also very focused on achieving their goal of getting a good price. One gentleman stated the prices he wanted to pay for each part, and the other gentleman wrote these numbers down in his notebook in a column. He then wrote down the prices he would like to receive for each part in the next column. When it became apparent that the sums of the columns were very different, awkward and polite bargaining ensued. The gentleman with the notebook proposed a new sum, while the other gentleman smiled and stared intently at his laptop. Eventually I was consulted, and I proposed an amount that was the average of the two original sums. Neither gentleman was extremely happy with this number, which they agreed was probably a sign that they had arrived at the right price. The negotiations were happily concluded when one gentleman arrived at the other gentleman’s home that evening (unannounced) and took away the box of bicycle parts, with both gentlemen making vague and non-committal comments regarding a possible future Paypal transaction to complete the payment.

Account by Dr. Janice Neri, PhD

Photograph of said parts by Jonathan Hero