I do not enjoy getting entangled with the grifter

everyone likes a deal no one likes to be taken as a sucker
I like "fixed price"
the haggle can be exhausting
the manipulation of a sales person can be intrusive, obnoxious, and insulting

the "canvaser" on the sidewalk can be annoying with their little tricks
the tone of their voice
their "hook" to get the passerbys to slow... stop... and listen
it can all be a hassle

approaching the National's Stadium there were guys "giving away" baseball caps
we were hustling to get into the game we were not looking to buy any hats there was the consistent rush of men with Washington National hats
Red hats... Blue Hats... Pink Hats... Brown Hats... all with Nationals stitched in the side
all looking to be solid quality enough... there may not have been that MLG hologram logo.... yet nice just the same

but we were not looking to buy any hats
we were going to the game
I like to plot in advance if we are going to be buying anything

more people with hats... people with tickets to sell... peanuts to buy... and more hats
as we got deeper into the masses of men with hats there were men giving away hats

I like FREE! the notion of FREE is definitely an attention getter

in our urban way we said no thank you and kept going
but they are free... free... for nothing... for free

what sort of dad am I that I will not let my kids accept a free hat
I looked back and the boys were stopped with Lisa
they had been snared by a grifter...
I slowed and stopped and tried not to get involved
trying not to be the Grinch but not believing that these hats are for free I waited six or eight feet ahead

they had each been handed a hat that was "free"
I waited and I watched
and asked FREE? not sure if I said it... but the guy with the hats could sense my question and my doubt
then there was the request for a five dollar donation
five dollars per hat

lisa was stopped with her wallet
I called for troops to push forward... I got disapproval from the boys, Lisa, and the man with the allegedly free hats
not to give into the grift
it is a bit of extortion I do not care for the women selling roses in the Italian restaurant... I do not care for the person at the water front selling crabs and pretending to be my friend
I just want to buy what I want if I want it... I don not need a deal if I am risk of being cheated
I am keen to the this is for false for free... if you don't give us a donation then you do not get the free item
I did not want the hats
beyond that I did not want to play into their trap

I hate being the sucker in the grift
I have fallen for the white van scam
I know what it is to be played

after the game... after the game that involved all sorts of lemonade, chicken tenders with fries, hot dogs, cotton candy, ice cream, and beer for dad we walked towards the Metro
out of the stadium there was talk about wanting a souvenir between mom and Grant
Lisa gave Grant five dollars for a hat

before we got bum rushed by the first guy trying to sell us a hat I was into my wallet pulling out a dollar for Grant instructing him to say... "how about two for six"
sure enough... a man came up with his hats Five Dollars.
Grant did not respond.... I leaned in... and waited for young Grant to get involved in the transaction then I went intervened and said... "how about two for six dollars" the man responded no
without hesitation I instructed the family to move forward

we walked ten steps forward
again bum rushed by a man with hats
hats for five dollars
pretty much the same set of hats
I was intent on playing out the same deal

Hats Five Dollars
"how about two for six"

oh no... I would lose money
well.. two for seven"

well... okay...

or something to that effect... it all happens very fast... this is a fast interaction... we are moving... we are trying to get away...

another dollar out the wallet as each of the boys selected a hat navy blue baseball cap with the Nationals W
handsome hats... the boys looked handsome in their hats
it happened pretty fast
we got pulled into the hustle
five dollars is not bad to pay for a hat
two for seven is better
especially when it means that both the boys get a hat instead of just one

it was a fun exchange
until Grant told me he wanted a different hat... not a blue one... not a red one... one of the other ones
NO NOT THE PINK ONE... but one of the other ones
which sort of detracted from the great lesson of dancing with the hustler

in the end they got their hats... which I will more than likely wear more than them.... as I usually do
and they will get some lesson from that
maybe that lesson is that Dad is cheap
not sure
glad that we got to play with rather than get played by the player

the following day before even saying good morning Grant said, "hey dad, thanks for the Nat's cap!"
which had me feeling that things went well
then to see both the boys with their hats instead of one...
well... that had me thinking that our transaction went well... real well

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