The busy market stalls around Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Lunchtime. In search of some bargain bric-a-brac on my way to the station. It is a smorgasbord of the obscure.
Screwdriver selections, alarm clocks, Abibas clothing, Goochi purses, scrubbing brushes, rings, bangles, fake Chelsea shirts, mobile phone chargers, headphone sets, pants, sandals. So much tat. So little time.
I settle for a miniature wind up plastic elephant….

Henry: How much? Quick!
Stall Holder: What?
Henry: It’s for my nephew….
Stall Holder: Oh. Fifty Rupees.
Henry: Right.
Stall Holder: What?
Henry: (putting the money down) There you are…
Stall Holder: Wait a moment.
Henry: What?
Stall Holder: We’re supposed to haggle.
Henry: No, no — I’ve got to get to the ticket office…
Stall Holder: What do you mean, ‘no’?
Henry: I haven’t time — I’ve got to get…
Stall Holder: Give it back then.
Henry: No, no — I paid you.
Stall Holder: (calls) Bert!

Bert, a massive man, appears.

Bert: Yeah?
Stall Holder: This bloke won’t haggle.
Bert: (looks around) Wont haggle?
Henry: Oh all right — I mean, do we have to…
Stall Holder: Now I want fifty for that…
Henry: I gave you fifty!
Stall Holder: Now are you telling me that’s not worth fifty?
Henry: No.
Stall Holder: Feel the quality, that’s genuine local sweat shop right there…
Henry: Oh — I’ll give you forty five , then…
Stall Holder: No, no. Do it properly.
Henry: What?
Stall Holder: Haggle properly. This isn’t worth forty five.
Henry: You just said it was worth fifty!
Stall Holder: Bert!
Henry: I’ll give you thirty.
Stall Holder: That’s more like it (angrily). Thirty?Are you trying to insult me? Me? With a poor dying grandmother…? Thirty?!
Henry: Thirty two.
Stall Holder: Now you’re getting it. Thirty two? Did I hear you right? Thirty two?? This cost me thirty four— d’you want to ruin me?
Henry: Forty two?
Stall Holder: Forty Two?!
Henry: Forty five?
Stall Holder: No, no, no — you go to thirty seven now!
Henry: Thirty seven?
Stall Holder: Thirty Seven? Are you joking?
Henry: That’s what you told me to say! (desperate) Tell me what to say, please!
Stall Holder: Offer me forty one.
Henry: I’ll give you forty one.
Stall Holder: (to the onlookers) He’s offering me forty one for this!
Henry: Forty one?
Stall Holder: Forty one. My last word. I won’t take a rupee less, or strike me dead.
Henry: Forty!
Stall Holder: Done! (shaking Henry’s hand) Nice to do business with you. Tell you what, I’ll throw in this as well. (Gives Henry a pair of socks)
Henry: I don’t want them, but thanks.
Stall Holder: Bert!
Bert: (appearing rapidly) Yes?
Henry: All right! All right!! Thank you.
Stall Holder: Where’s the forty then?
Henry: I already gave you fifty.
Stall Holder: Oh yes … that’s ten I owe you then. (starts looking for change)
Henry: … It’s all right, it doesn’t matter.
Stall Holder: Hang on.

A pause while the Stall Holder tries to find change.

Henry: It’s all right, that’s ten for the socks — that’s fine!
Stall Holder: Ten for the Socks? !! Look at them, they’re worth twenty if they’re worth a rupee.
Henry: You just gave them to me for nothing!
Stall Holder: Yes, but they’re worth twenty.
Henry: All right, all right.
Stall Holder: No, no, no. They’re not worth twenty.
You’re supposed to argue. ‘What? Twenty for those? You must be mad!’

Exasperated, Henry pays twenty and walks off hurriedly with the socks

Stall Holder: Ah well, there’s one born every minute.

N.B. Reproduced and reworked with an earnest doff of the panama to Idle, Chapman and the others. Thank you.
Heroes all. You continue to inspire.

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