Although the saga will not officially be over until money changes hands, the bribe has been decided upon. Last Wednesday I met this realtor dude at the apartment in question. I came armed for bear with all the forms he’d said he needed and cash in hand.
When he arrived the first thing this guy did was repeat four times that what we were about to discuss was illegal and therefore shouldn’t be done. He repeated this and rephrased it. He did everything but speak to my chest in case I was wearing a wire.
Then we got on the negotiation – of which my brother-in-law held the major part of the conversation thanks to the German language issue – and found out the size of the bribe he thought he could get out of us and get away with. He was slimy, he was slick and he was obviously still tweaked at Oliver who had dared to imply in an earlier phone conversation that perhaps the money he was asking from us was money he wasn’t exactly earning.
Oh the cheek of my husband! How could he be so crass!
I named what I thought was fair(ish): one month’s rent
Oh absolutely NOT! He practically threw up his hands in a tizzy, oh that’s not even close enough to cover the risk he would be taking by making such a tawdry deal in the first place… and so on and so forth. Finally, once his blood pressure had subsided he named a price that was about 400 euros above my predetermined pain threshold.
He wouldn’t budge.
As I pondered, he started justifying it and explaining the numbers as if this was a legitimate business deal and not just a bribe because he has an in with the landlord and I have no choice but to deal with him. His oily chatter and smug expression, his cheap briefcase and too-short courderoy pants starting to weigh on me. The room felt too small and I just wanted him gone.
It came down to this: I want to be done with apartment searching and when you factor in double rent and (legitimate) makler fees this was still going to be a hell of a lot cheaper than anything else.
So I interrupted his speech and announced we were done. He stopped and stared at me owlishly, he thought I was telling him to take a hike and for a second I wished I had. Instead I told him that at this point it was of little concern to me how much money he wanted, I’d reached a point of not caring. I told him, four hundred euros was, after all, just a nice pair of boots and since it didn’t seem to snowing much this winter, I could spare such an amount. He could have it.
He probably thought I was just being a typical shallow woman, comparing the money he was groveling for with footware, but it was the closest I was going to get at this point – as long as the contract wasn’t signed – to letting him know my opinion of him.
Of course he’s insisting on drawing up the papers over the weekend and creating a lot of busy work for himself – as there is anything more to do than push print to make a new contract. So I still have to meet with him this week to actually give him the cash and sign the contract, but the deal is – as far as one can with a person of his caliber – sealed.
I’m sorely tempted to change the whole amount into 10 euro bills just to let him know what a bastard I think he is.