This morning I bought a new umbrella. It was a depressing purchase, because I miss my old umbrella – a bright plaid umbrella that had served me well for over seven years. I had that plaid umbrella up until two weeks ago, when I believe I accidently left it on the bus going home from work one night. I only discovered that I had lost it a couple days later when it began raining again and the umbrella wasn’t in my truck or anywhere in the house.
I admit that I mourned – my umbrella was distinctive but not overpowering. It wasn’t one of those insanely huge golf umbrellas that men overcompensate with. It also wasn’t overly girly or too small. It was the perfect umbrella and still looked brand new despite seven years of use.
So this morning they were calling for showers for today, so when I got to Port Authority I popped into the shoeshine/umbrella store on the 2nd floor. I immediately saw another plaid umbrella that I liked (see photo on left), but it didn’t have a price.
“How much for this one?” I asked a salesperson.
“Oh, that’s an expensive one – I think it’s $55.”
I laughed. “Okay, no really – how much is it?”
“I’m serious – that’s a good quality umbrella there.” He took it from my hand and opened it and began oohing and aahing over the workmanship. He looked at the price tag.
“Oh my mistake – it’s only $45, not $55.”
“Do you have any others like this pattern but not as expensive?”
“Well, they won’t be such good quality. This is a special kind of fabric – feel it.”
I touched the umbrella fabric. It was nice, I’ll admit.
“Can you show me your cheaper ones?” I asked him, forcing myself to let go of the finer umbrella.
He showed me a couple – umbrellas with kittens, basic black umbrellas, supersized golf umbrellas, umbrellas with Renoir paintings. But I was drawn to the expensive plaid umbrella that the salesman was still holding.
I sighed a resigned sigh and held out my hand. “I’ll take that umbrella.”
“You sure?” he asked, knowing that I didn’t want to pay that much. “These umbrellas are still nice,” gesturing to the rack of paltry cheap umbrellas.
“No, I’ll take the plaid umbrella.”
He led me to the cash register and five minutes later I walked out with my $45 umbrella with a heavy maplewood handle and quality craftsmanship.
I had better not lose this thing for at least seven years.
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