Bargain-hunting for things to add to my collection of rare bric-a-brac, I stopped one day at the little curio shop of Sam Cohen, where from time to time I had picked up valuable pieces. Browsing around, I saw nothing of interest and was about to leave.
Then, just inside the door, a cat lapping milk out of a saucer caught my eye. One glance told me that the saucer was a priceless antique. Sam, feeding a cat from this saucer, might, hopefully, not be aware of its value, I suspected. Following the tactics I had cultivated negotiating with shopkeepers at various curio shops, I pretended that what I wanted was the cat, not the saucer, and asked, “That’s a nice cat you have there, Sam. Would you sell him to me?” Sam offered the cat for 5 dollars. I paid the five, put the cat under my arm, then added, pretending to have just had an idea, “I’ll just take the saucer along. The cat is probably used to eating from it.” I picked up the priceless saucer for next to nothing, I thought.
But, Sam wouldn’t give me the saucer. So, I offered to buy it. But he still refused my offer. I asked him why not. “Because,” replied Sam, “from that old saucer, I already sold 139 cats.”
I was trying to get the precious saucer for next to nothing by deceiving Sam pretending that I hadn’t realized the value of the saucer. But, as it turned out, Sam had deceived me pretending that he hadn’t realized the value of the saucer, and had tricked me into doing what I had done, resulting in selling me a valueless cat. He knew what I was up to all along. Moreover, there were 138 other customers before me who had been manipulated by him into buying a cat as I had. I was no match for Sam Cohen the shrewd curio shopkeeper after all.