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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It was not such a good bargain after all

It was not such a good bargain after all

Sitting at a corner of my favorite coffee-shop one morning, I heard some noises behind me. On directing my view to the opposite side of my table, I saw a crowd holding a few expensive watches. The pieces of diamond on the watches glittered under the sunlight. With the urge to investigate, I dragged my lazy feet towards them.

To my amazement, there were about half a dozen Rolex watches costing not less than three thousand dollars each. A slim, well-at-tired man curtly interrupted me and tried to clear my dazed mind with a whisper. “My boy, don’t be fooled by that charlatan or you’ll get into trouble.” Saying so, he left me without giving me a chance to reply. Being easily tempted and influenced, I found myself standing in front of the crowd directly facing the man who was then the center of attraction. In spite of the unidentified man’s warning, I inquired the seller for the price of the watches.

He was probably taken aback by the question coming from a young schoolboy like me because he stared at me in disbelief. However, he held out to shake hands with me. He asked me a few questions; I guessed he was trying to see my earnestness at owning the watch. Convinced of my intentions, he told me that he got those watches from his former employer, year after year for he was hardworking and diligent. As he was then financially tight, he had to sell all the watches. I was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt when the man produced copies of certificates proving the genuineness of the watches.

After inspecting the watches thoroughly, I again inquired about the price. To my astonishment, the man was willing to sell the watch for a thousand dollars which was only thirty percent of the cost price. My heart almost leapt into my mouth when I thought of this bargain. “Well, son, seeing that you’re still schooling and not earning yet, I’ll let you have it for $850,” said the man. “Wow! What a bargain! I’ll take it,” I replied without second thoughts.

I excused myself and ran to the Cash-On-Line teller across the road. I withdrew the required amount and turned my head towards the watch seller only to find him being held by two police constables. A large crowd has by then gathered in front of the coffee-shop. The police then seized the diamond-studded Rolex watches and led the watch dealer away in their van.

I traced my steps back towards the coffee-shop where my coffee which had turned cold by then still patiently in the cup, waiting to be drunk. I was disappointed at what had happened. The young, mysterious man who had warned me before came again and this time he said mockingly. “You see? I told you to be careful. That man was a thief. He stole the watches and some jewelry from a goldsmith shop. Police have been tracking him ever since and thank goodness, at last they found him. The nerve of him was trying to cheat a young boy like you. It was lucky that you didn’t buy the watch.”

Without a single word, I nodded and shook hands with the man. I suppose that gesture was worth a thousand words. The man stroked my hair and said, “Well son, it wasn’t such a good bargain after all!”

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