Saturday, August 14, 2010
The Art of Bargaining
Mickey Bond is a worker in South African embassy in India. He loves India and its diverse culture. He is a happy man but with one big problem. He can’t handle too much pressure. Mickey's behavior in tense situations is inscrutable. Otherwise, he is okay. His cousin, Aladin Bond is on a World tour and staying with Mickey to visit India. Mickey tells Aladin about popular street markets of India where according to him "Bargaining" is the key.
Mickey Bond - Bargaining is a very important, and even expected, part of shopping at markets in India. Shopkeepers in India hope to charge you a higher rate to raise their monthly income. You want to save money as your budget is running low. But the streets are filled with colorful and enticing items to buy so how do you buy something without getting ripped off? The idea is to start below what you are willing to pay.
Mickey takes Aladin to weekly Monday Market in his locality.
Mickey Bond (With James Bond expressions) – Let me show you how it’s done.
Mickey walks to a wooden stall.
Mickey – This green shirt with embroidery. How Much?
Shopkeeper – Four Hundred Rupees.
Mickey – No, it’s too much. I can pay you Forty Rupees for this.
Mickey thought the Shopkeeper will offer the shirt at lower price but Shopkeeper was an enthusiastic young man, new in business.
Shopkeeper – No, Sahib! Four Hundred Rupees.
Mickey – No, Forty! Look..my name is Bond....Mickey Bond!
Shopkeeper – I am Popeye the Spider man! Four Hundred.
Mickey (Returning to 'original Mickey look' from James Bond expressions) – Forty!
Shopkeeper – Four Hundred!
Mickey – Forty!
Shopkeeper – Four Hundred!
This Four Hundred versus Forty went on for few more seconds and Mickey Bond was 'pressurized' enough to shout......
Mickey – AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! Okay, final! Four Hundred Forty?
Since many of you are reading this page to get some tips on Bargaining. :p Here's the best way to go about it to make sure you don't pay too much at India's markets. Though, gradually Department stores, Supermarkets, Shopping Malls, Hypermarkets, etc are replacing local unorganized, desi markets.
*) - To get a feel for how much goods should cost, visit some fixed price stores first.
*) - In street markets, as a general rule, don't pay more than half the initial asking price of any items. Sometimes it's possible to pay less, especially if you buy more than one item.
*) - Shop keepers consider the first sale of the day to be lucky, so shop early and they may give you a better price to get your business.
*) - Never reveal how much you're interested in an item. Always pretend to be indifferent as to how much you want it.
*) - Start the bargaining process by asking the shop keeper "Is this your best price?" or "Is a discount possible?".
*) - The price will immediately be dropped a small amount. Tell the shop keeper that the item is still way too expensive. You'll then be asked how much you're prepared to pay.
*) - When it's your turn to offer a price, make sure you start with a low amount that's well below what you're prepared to pay. Around one third of the quoted price is a good amount.
*) - If the shop keeper isn't dropping the price enough, walk away. Usually this will result in an immediate reduction in the asking price. If it doesn't, it's an indication that your price is too low. You can either go back and keep negotiating, or try and find the item cheaper somewhere else.
*) - It's a good idea to walk around the market and see all that's on offer first, before buying anything. It's common to find the same items for sale in a number of shops.
*) - Lastly, keep in mind that bargaining is meant to be fun. Many shop keepers enjoy it, as the interaction breaks up the monotony of their day.