Part 1

Philip: Hi there. How much is that X-files boxset?
Vendor: It’s £90, but I’ll give it to you for 85.
Philip: You couldn’t make it a bit cheaper, could you?
Vendor: How about 80?
Philip: I’ll give you 60.
Vendor: 60? You’ve got to be joking. Are you having a laugh?
Philip: How about 65?
Vendor: I’ll tell you what: I can go to 75, but no lower.
Philip: 70. That’s my final offer.
Vendor: 75.
Philip: Oh, alright, 75. This had better be good.

1. a box set is a collection of DVDs or videos, usually a complete collection.
2. “You couldn’t…, could you?” is a very common way of asking someone to do something
You couldn’t close the window, could you?
“You couldn’t give me a hand, could you?
3. “Are you having a laugh?” is a way of saying that someone’s suggestion is ridiculous.
“I’ll swap you this bottle of juice for your lunch/”
“What? Are you having a laugh?”

4. “This had better be good” means ‘if this isn’t good, I won’t be happy.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. Could I talk to you outside for a second?”
This had better be good; I’m a bit busy at the moment.


Part 2

Dave: How much for the soft toy?
Vendor: The panda is 10, and the dog is 20.
Dave: Any chance of getting the dog for 15?
Vendor: Sorry, mate.
Dave: 20 seems a bit much.
Vendor: I’ll tell you what: 25 for the both of them.
Dave: I’m not sure. I reckon 15 for the dog, and 7 for the panda.
Vendor: Hey, I have to make a living here. I can’t give these away. How about 20 for the dog, and I throw in this little dinosaur free of charge?
Dave: 17 for the dog and the dinosaur.
Vendor: You drive a hard bargain. Ok, how’s this: 25 for all three?
Dave: Ok. 25 for all 3.
Vendor: You’re killing me, you know that, right? Ok, 25 for the lot. Here you go. Enjoy.

1. ‘mate’ is sometimes added in the UK or Australia. It means ‘friend’.
2. ‘a bit much’ is a way of suggesting ‘too much’
“Mum, I’ve finished making the cake.”
“It’s very nice dear, although there’s a bit much chocolate on the top, no?”

3. reckon = think, but for a reason
“How long until we get there?”
“If the traffic isn’t bad, I reckon another hour.”

4. make a living = earn money.
5. ‘throw in’ is often used when giving away a free extra product
If you buy one of my computers now, I’ll throw in a free webcam.
6. ‘you drive a hard bargain’ means you are a tough person with which to negotiate (but usually when you agree)
“Ok, I’ll go with you to the party, but you have to help my sister with her English lessons for a month.”
“Ok, OK. You drive a hard bargain. A whole month?! Oh god…”

7. ‘for the lot’ = all of them


Part 3

Last week I went to Camden Market looking for some bargains. I saw some shoes I fancied so asked the vendor how much he wanted for them. Initially, he said 30, but I persuaded him to give them to me for 20.
Later, I found a woman with a stall of soft toys, a couple of which I thought would make nice gifts for my nieces when I go to see them this weekend. We danced around a bit, but in the end I got 3 for 25 quid, which I thought was a good deal.

1. Camden Market is a famous market in London.
2. fancy = want, or like. It is followed by either a noun, or ‘ing’ verb.
Fancy some lunch?
She fancied going to the movies, but I persuaded her to go with me to the game.

3. vendor = a person who sells things, but from a stall or tray, not a shop
4. initially = at first
Initially I thought he was a bit of an idiot, but over time I learned to like him.
5. ‘danced around a bit’ is used here as a metaphor. It means go around and around before getting to the point.
6. quid = slang English word for pound (British money)


Part 4

Haggling in western countries is not as common as it once was: now most people simply accept the labeled price. However, it is not totally dead, and is still a common practice at yard sales, garage sales, jumble sales, and some markets. Buying antiques is a popular pastime – especially after a slew of TV shows – and haggling is expected at most antique fairs. For many people the idea of finding a bargain amongst the rubbish is the joy of antiquing.

1. ‘not as…as it once was’ = ‘it used to be more…’
I’m not as young as I once was.
This company is not as profitable as it once was, but it is still a good investment.
2. labeled price = the price on the label
3. dead = finished
4. slew = a sudden rush of something (for example, after one thing is popular, a lot of similar things, or copies)
There have been a slew of dog attacks over the last month.