Monday, December 29, 2008

John Mozeliak goes shoe shopping, part 5

John Mozeliak sat quietly at his desk admiring the two new pair of shoes sitting in front of him. The running shoes, teal with a yellow sunburst design, had been a steal. He had quabbled and negotiated with the manager until the two had reached an agreement. An agreement, John thought to himself with a smile, that was definitely favorable to his own wallet. He ran his fingers over the rubber sole and thought fondly back upon the encounter that had garnered him such an affordable and wonderfully conservative (if not top-of-the-line) prize. 

"Have you found something you like?" the manager asked as John sat looking back and forth between the two pair of shoes he had tried on. The manager sat down on the bench across from John's and rested his elbows on his knees as though he were fiercely interested in whatever John might have to say. 

John had tried each pair on several times and was now wearing the teal and yellow number and considering whether he had anything in his closet that would match the almost blinding (yet definitely eye-catching) color scheme. John bit his bottom lip nervously. He glanced at the manager and smiled, then looked back down toward the shoes. He spoke then, knowing that he must not give away his desperation for the shoes, knowing that he could drive down the price if only he could convince the manager that he didn't really need the shoes, and that they weren't all that stylish. "Oh, maybe. You know, I'm just killing time while my wife shops. I'm not really in the market for any new shoes. Ha ha!" 

"Ha ha!" The manager responded jovially and slapped his knee. "Of course! But I did notice those piles of garbage you wore in. Don't tell me you wouldn't love to replace those, am I right?" 

"Oh, those?" John answered cheerfully. "Ha ha! Sure, I know they don't look like much, but between you and me..." he leaned in as though sharing some deep secret, "they feel a whole lot better than they look." He winked as he leaned back away. John stood up then, hoping he was effectively concealing the ever-present pain in his feet. His smile was strained (and slightly creepy), but the manager gave no indication that he suspected a ruse. 

He stood himself, then simply nodded at the running shoes John was wearing and replied, "How about those beauties? They're absolutely the latest fashion. They've been flying off the shelves ever since we got them in. And they look super on you. Are they comfortable? Ha ha! Of course they are! You love them, right? Tell me you love them." 

John squirmed uncomfortably in the shoes and made a face. "Well, they're alright, I guess. Maybe they just need to be broken in or something." 

The manager frowned thoughtfully and adjusted his belt loops with his thumbs. He lowered his voice and asked, "What would it take to get you home with these shoes today?" 

It was at that precise moment that John knew he had the manager exactly where he wanted him. From there, it had only taken a few minutes for John to negotiate the price he wanted (which was one of his personal bests, if he did say so himself), and he was on his way home with his new, slightly worn, not-quite-so-fashionable running shoes. 

To be continued and continued...