: to haggle, bargain, and negotiate the price
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Remember our cool outdoor cooker--the "brasero"--I told you about in the previous post? My husband just sold it secondhand via Leboncoin (France's version of Craigslist). Both parties--our in-house Cordon-Bleu and les aquéreurs--seem to have gotten a smokin' deal on that barbecue.
Jean-Marc, with the help of my belle-soeur, Cécile, put together the sizzling contraption some 3 years ago. Made up of a giant bowl-shaped container en fer with a wide plancha for cooking fish, vegetables, etc, the brother-sister team added a metal table beneath la cuve (to hold plates and drinks). But the pièce de résistance, and what really gave the cooker its good looks, was the aged barrique holding it up. That authentic wine barrel was sold along with the BBQ (even if I had my eye on it for another project in our garden...).
The day of la vente I heard Jean-Marc's telephone ring. The buyers were here! When my husband went through the gate to meet them on the street, I slunk around the kitchen, where I had a good view of our back patio. Normally I would've gone out to greet the thrifters (as I did the woman who bought our balai vapeur or the guy who bought our cement mixer or le type who bought our climatiseur), but then I'd be tempted to parler de tout et de rien, and this would only prolong the sale (et embêter mon mari). Ah well, fair is fair, les affaires sont les affaires, and this was Jean-Marc’s deal...even if I planned to ask for a wee percentage of the sale ("une taxe" as my husband calls it when he takes a big bite of my dessert at the restaurant). But all I wanted, here, was a small bite--some pocket cash…. de l'argent de poche.
"How much did you sell it for?" I began, as soon as our cordon-bleu returned to the kitchen.
Jean-Marc and Mom at the brasero. Look at all the room for trays and plates. Scroll to see a picture of the wine barrel, below.
"Yes, they asked for a discount."
"Ah. What exactly did they say?"
"Que c'est de bonne guerre de négocier.” That it’s fair game to negotiate.
C'est de bonne guerre de négocier... I'm filing away that phrase! It will come in handy next time my husband asks to tax my dessert. He can have one small bite instead of the supersized spoonful that empties half the bowl. "C'est de bonne guerre de negocier!" I'll say, handing him a teaspoon. And if he protests, well, all’s fair in love and guerre!
Voilà, fellow French learner, as we’ve just seen, today's phrase is every bit as useful when negotiating a loss. Bye for now and see you next week for another anecdote on this French life. Until then remember: tout se négocie. Everything's negotiable...even ice cream!
P.S. My husband did finally hand over my "tax": a 50 euro bill! Can you guess where he put it?
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la friperie = secondhand clothes shop
marchander = to haggle, to negotiate, to bargain
Le Boncoin ("le bon coin") = "the good corner" - a classified ads similar to Craigslist
le cordon-bleu = master chef
l'acquéreur, l'acquéreuse = the buyer
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
en fer = made of metal
la cuve = the bowl
la barrique = wine barrel
la vente = sale
le balai vapeur = steam mop
le type = guy, dude, bloke
le climatiseur = air conditioning unit
parler de tout et de rien = talk about anything and everything
embêter mon mari = bug my husband
les affaires sont les affaires = business is business
une taxe = a tax
l'argent de poche = pocket money
C'est de bonne guerre de négocier = it’s fair game to bargain
tout se négocie = everything is negociable
Smokey keeping cool beside the brasero. It's been one year since our sweet golden retriever passed away. We are lucky to have had him since birth, for almost 13 years together. Fur-ever in our hearts, Smokey Dokey!
Remember, everything is negociable--even ice cream. Smokey, I hope you're getting lots of "frosty paws" in heaven.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety