I was in Japan a few weeks ago. When I got to Narita airport a couple hours before my return flight, I decided to pick up something to read on the way home.
They had a small English section in the airport bookstore and I noticed this copy of the New Yorker:
It was the 80th anniversary edition, a pretty thick magazine, and it said $4.95. “Not bad,” I thought.
Some background: Japanese conversion rates are basically $1 dollar (US) = 100 yen. Now, stupidly I wasn’t really focused on how much I had left in my wallet. I just fished out everything I had (4000 yen, which is $40.00) and thought to myself, “Ok, the magazine is $4.95 so I should get at least some of this back.”
When I went to pay, the lady rang it up and told me it’d be 1,500 yen. Not thinking, I peeled off 2 bills and started to hand it to her. As I put the bills in her hand, I realized what was happening: I was paying $15.00 FOR A MAGAZINE. PLEASE KILL ME!!! To be honest, no magazine is worth that much to me (plus I had other stuff to read). I wanted to weep but frankly I was already too committed to the purchase: I’d already stood in line, handed over the magazine (which was now bagged), and now handed her my money.
I walked out of there paying for the most expensive magazine I’ve ever bought. The big lesson for me was that it’s never too late to say no. Good lesson learned, I suppose.
By the way, the magazine was pretty good, but not $15 worth. That’s like 20 tacos at Taco Bell.
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