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August 13, 2008

Hello LA! Can I have a discount?

August 13. Day 44.

Greetings from Santa Monica! More specifically, from Mr. A's car in LA traffic on our way to Santa Monica.

We've been on the road since yesterday, taking his brother to a few favorite haunts -- Idyllwild, the mountain village where I spent almost every vacation as a child and which still has many charms, even for a grown up, and now the beach at sunset.

And... I have discovered mobile blogging!

In Idyllwild, I wandered into my favorite candy shop, where the smell of sugar hits you the second you open the door. I ordered a watermelon and pink lemonade doused sno-cone, and shyly told the teenage cashier that I used to get one of those every day when I visited Idyllwild as a little girl.

She nodded indifferently, and I suddently felt very, very old.

On to the next boutiques. At 4:58, I entered an antique shop that closes at 5, but the owner invited me in anyway.

"I'll be quick," I promised. "Just a glance."

Ten minutes later, the glance turned into one of my most efficient shopping expeditions in recent history. I piled a bavarian porcelain dish, a cake cutter, a hand embroidered table cloth and a delicate plate onto her counter. Time to get to work.

"Could we do a discount, since I'm getting a few things?"

"Ten percent is the most I can do. Cash or credit card?"

"Ten percent is great. Well, I guess you prefer cash? Let me see what I have on me."

I had $36. The total was $41. I put the money on the counter and showed her my empty wallet.

"$36 is fine."

Tips: cash is your friend, but know ahead how much you have or put a ballpark appropriate amount in your wallet first; places where the owner runs the register are ideal; and let people feel they are working with you, not for you, when they provide the discount (depends, of course -- you also need to read the person's attitude)

Gained: $5.

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