Last weekend I went out to Flushing to record piano overdubs with Jo of the Shivers.
When we got there I realized I had left a very crucial mini-USB cable all the way back in Manhattan. So we set out to the storefronts to see if we could replace it.
I arrived at Flower Computer Repair on Northern Blvd. There was a young American dude (or I'm guessing, he seemed to be a native English speaker at least) at the front desk and then back in the corner an older Chinese man (again, I'm guessing at basically all of these descriptive adjectives).
I rush in the door: "Hey, I just need a mini-USB cable, do you have that?" The guy at the desk gives me a blank stare for a moment, then stands and picks up a mini-USB limply. He looks back at me: "Like this?"
"Yeah, that's exactly what I need. How much is it?" The guy behind the counter sort of looks at me like that's a question he'd never considered. It's obvious that Flower Computer Repair considers itself to be specifically computer repair and NOT retail sales. Perhaps if I'd asked to have my mini-USB repaired they'd know what to do with me.
So the guy behind the counter looks back at the older Chinese gentlemen. He approaches, looks at the cable, looks at me and then slowly shakes his head: "No."
The young dude: "It's not really for sale. This is just for our own use."
"You won't sell it to me?"
Again, the young guy looks at the older guy. Who looks again at the cable and again at me. He shakes his head. "No."
I'm desparate. I need this cable! We've been trying to record these piano parts for months and if we can't do it today it'll be another six weeks before the Shivers even get back from their UK tour.
I pull out my wallet. "I'll give you ten bucks for that cable. That's a good deal."
The older man: "Ten bucks?" Younger man: "That's ten dollars." A subtle shift in the room. The older man takes the cable, turns to me and offers it out. "Take it," he says.
"Oh, thank you so much!" I say as I reach inside my wallet.
"No," he says. "No charge. Free."
I was shocked! Flower Computer Repair man! Only intending the whole time to test my mettle! Only once I proved that I truly wanted the USB cable and would be willing to part with ten "bucks" could I be trusted with it's custody!
The piano recording, by the way, went amazing. We got this beautiful Steinway Grand on four tracks and then did a take with the pipe organ.