my "bargain king"

I am not fond of shopping here: I guess I'm not really a "shopper" in general, but I love to find bargains, practical discounted items, and even better - used stuff @ garage sales or on Craig's List. I really love the REI garage sale, but that's another topic. Believe it or not - Justin is the main shopper in our family. No, he doesn't hang out at the mall or spend hours perusing the goods, but he's the one that goes to the market, the department stores, the electronic store, the home-supply stores, etc. His language abilities are more advanced than mine....and even more than that.....we call him "The Bargain King." He even asks for the "best price" for food....

Justin is an expert bargainer. He's been doing it since we moved here. Everything we have ever bought here in this land has been bargained for, besides the rare places where prices are fixed. In our 11 short months of Mandarin studies, he has mastered the bargaining lingo and can converse easily with shopkeepers in a strategic dance that can be so amusing. Watching & listening to Justin bargain is so funny. It's not just his words but also his facial expressions – the shock, the disgust, the surprise – and then the exaggerated body language that communicates a complete disregard for the item in question no matter how much he would like to purchase it (tai gui-le = 太贵了 = too expensive!). Sometimes I even question if he wants to buy it too, he's that convincing.

If I am lucky, I might have a part to play in the banter - while I walk away and begin to show interest in another item nearby. But there is no way that I will ever come close to the skills of "Bargain King." There may not be a sales tax on most items, but we definitely have to bargain creatively to avoid the "skin tax." Justin says its an ART to walk away from a deal knowing you got a good price and the shop keeper is still relatively happy.