Seoul Moments - Calculator Haggling

When you have no common language, but you want to agree on a number, a calculator is a very useful device. Having decided on a suitable present for number one wife it was all down to the price. The lady in the shop smiled, bowed, entered a number on a big calculator and handed it to me.

I looked down, clearly I now had to do something to move the situation forward. A smaller number seemed like a plan. I examined the calculator carefully. It had clearly been involved in a lot of haggling. Several of the keys had worn so that they no longer had any markings on. Feeling that I had to do something, I stabbed at some keys, typed in some digits and handed it back. The woman's eyes widened in surprise, apparently I had just offered her the entire gross national product of Korea for a necklace and a bracelet. The calculator was handed back to me.

By now I reckoned I was gaining control of the situation, having worked out how to clear the display by the simple process of pressing all the unmarked buttons until I got a zero. I entered a number only slightly larger than the original one, handed over a wad of notes and made it out onto the street with my purchase.