0267 - The Deal. - 2022.11.14



I don't like haggling.

I don't think it's fair that the price of something can change based on how charismatic or smart I am. I don't like that prices can change based on whether or not a seller likes me (and that we can't, after the fact, ascertain whether that attitude correlates to my race or gender or accent). I don't like not knowing how much a given item is going to cost ahead of time - or even if it'll be available at all - and therefore, being unable to make plans.

I particularly don't like how haggling is a key component of the real estate market, which, here in the early twenty-first century, is a major driver of the entire economy and also represents the majority of wealth owned by most homeowners.

There was a certain politician/celebrity I'm not going to name who made haggling his brand. He would always brag about the deals he made, how he would always get great deals on what he wanted. Over and above my antipathy for the haggling process, bragging about being good at it seemed like a nonsensical move. Surely, when you loudly proclaim that you're going to pay less for goods and services, the people selling them, seeing you coming, will pre-emptively raise their prices so that your haggling ability will only bring them down to normal levels, yes? That's certainly what I'd do, assuming I was willing to do business with such a person to begin with.

It's pretty likely, of course, that my ever-so-ethical position on haggling stems from the fact that a) I don't come from a haggling-in-the-marketplace culture, and b) I'm not any damn good at it. As a result, I have some trouble writing characters who are good at it.

So yes, both Lee and Zoa, here, are terrible negotiators. A deal's a deal, though. I'm sure it's fine.


0267 - 2167/07/07/02:14 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, bedroom
LC: Okay... I've got it.
Zoa: What've you got?
LC: I've been thinking about something.
Zoa: I would hope that you've been thinking about a lot of things.
LC: Zoa, just... just please let me say this, okay?
Zoa: Sorry. By all means, proceed.
LC: You mentioned that you only have the one outfit, right? Well, that may work if you're always moving from territory to territory, but if you're sticking around, that means that people are gonna see you in the same outfit on different days.
LC: And, while I'm sure you don't sweat or get it dirty, people are gonna think it's dirty, right? That's a human instinctual thing. You know all about instincts and subconscious shit like that.
LC:Anyone who sees you wear the same shirt five days in a row is going to make the same subconscious association they would with a human who doesn't bathe. They're gonna think that you're unhealthy and you stink, even if you don't.
LC: We're roughly the same size, aren't we? I am officially opening my closet to you - only to you, please don't go advertising this as a service. You can rent clothing and accessories from my wardrobe, and also store your own stuff here when you're not using it. I gotta approve the rentals before you take'em, bring'em back when you're done, I charge you if they're lost or damaged. Like a real business agreement and everything.
LC: In exchange, you give me cuddles and bedtime stories and normal affection like that whenever I want. I know you can't barter, so we'll just say that these are exclusive services, I offer the wardrobe for a cred a year, you offer the simulated affection for a cred a year. How's that sound?
Zoa: ...I can talk now?
LC: Yes.
Zoa: Okay, Lee... you know my finances get looked over, yeah? I can't just make numbers up however I like. I would have to charge an order of magnitude more than a cred a year for literally any function I perform.
LC: Uh... ten creds per ye-
Zoa: Sweet. Deal. No take-backsies.