Thursday, December 11, 2008

Channeling Great Grammy Frimmer: Smackdown in China Town

Bubby R always said Great-Bubby Frimmer hoisted thrifty to a radically new level. Fabric shopping with her... oy vey. It always turned into a farshlepte krenk already. She'd haggle with the clerk at Woolworths, for the love of Got.

Suddenly, I recalled this ancient family kvetching in the middle of the whole affair on Canal Street. Actually I was on Broadway, just south of that enormous kinky reggae impenetrable sidewalk swarm that goes on down there 24-7. But I was not there to buy a Rastafarian bobblehead. I was there because I couldn't go back to the Lower East Side, where I had overwhelmed myself in the claustrophobic labyrinth textile warehouse firetraps. They made me all shvitsy. I suffered a panic attack in the woolens aisle and had to call Lynn to talk me down.

That's why I went on the Yelp! and pinpointed a fabric storefront of managable proportion. Despite the risks to my psychological well-being, I was hellbent for Velvet. I had this grand vision to create a decadent table strewn with velvet and set with a magnificent feast.

And thankfully it was a eureka moment there on the fringes of Chinatown. Out front the fabric store was an industrial laundry cart filled to the brim with scraps of faux fur, shimmery satin and velvet. So perfect for an opulent banquet fit for pirate.

I picked out half the cart before I realized nothing had a price on it. I hauled my take inside the store and found the alter kaker shop owner.

"How much?"

He picked up the piece on the top of my pile. "$5 for this one. And for this one.... $8."

And instantly, like magic, I turned into Bubby F. "What?! Gonif. $5? $8? I'm a shnook to you? See that stain? See that rip? I'll do you this favor and give you $2 tops for that one and $4 for this one."

We went through the ENTIRE MOUNTAIN of fabric in this fashion. Approximately an hour later we had dug down to the last scrap... a fragment of electric blue feather boa. This is when the moment turned contentious and the bickering dragged on for long enough that both of us forgot the total price we had previously agreed to. The shop owner threw up his hands and spat "$40 for the lot of it. That's it. Take it or leave it."

I decided to take it, tokhis oyfn tish, but when I got up to the cash register I only had $38 in crumpled bills. The cashier took it.

Zay Gezunt.


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