Google+ Consumer Psyche: Let's bargain!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let's bargain!

I have been asked to help in negotiations, retuning purchased(once cherished but not needed anymore within 24 hrs) sort of items and called for better pricing deals and so on as I am known to be a tough negotiator.

I personally never bargain. Its a choice. If I want to buy something, I choose to find out the best deal and if it matches the value I presume it will be to me, I buy. I take a long time to select, preview and then move to purchase. Once I decide, I rarely go back and feel bad, change my opinion.

However I have been told I should bargain every time I purchase by everyone I know! My dad, mom, friends, mom in law and so on. Fortunately wify has come to understand my point!

Why I don't bargain would be another blogpost but Jerry nails it here! Read on...



I am on the street, buying the makings of a salad. I pick up what I think I will need and hand it to the young man, who weighs them and tells me what I should pay. I pay and I am about to leave when I hear a distinct “Tchhah”.

It is a senior citizen with a terrible frown on her face.

“Sorry?” I don't actually say it but I look at her with an apologetic question.

“You are from foreign?” she asks.

“No. From Mahim,” I say.

“Then you should bargain,” she says. “Anything he will say, you will give?”

Actually, yes.

I don't bargain with the poor. I bargain with the rich. I find them ugly customers, unwilling to part with their money. I bargain with men who sit in air-conditioned offices and think that writing is not hard work, that ideas fall out of the air. I don't bargain with a man who sits on the street in the semi-tropical sun and sells vegetables.

Of course, he's marked up the price. If I think it is a reasonable mark-up, I pay it. If I think it is unreasonable, I don't buy. I walk on. I stick to four or five vendors, all of whom know me, none of whom wants to lose my custom. My fisherwoman, a lovely Koli, warns me when the fish has come off the ice. My fruit man tells me when I should buy the peaches and when I shouldn't. This is also because I do not bargain.

But the real reason is that I have long been aware that money isn't the most important thing in life. It is important, which is why I won't work for a man in an air-conditioned office until he pays me something close to what I want, but the most important thing is time.

I don't have the time to bargain.

I don't want anything so much that I would waste time discussing the price. If mangoes are too expensive for me, I won't discuss that with the vendor. I'll just buy figs. I know all the arguments: that our vendors love to bargain, that it's more of a game than anything else, yes, yes, yes.
It's just not a game I like to play.

I don't bargain for essentials, for food.

No, actually, I did. Once.

On a menu in a coffee shop in Khan Market, I once read Lime water: Rs.170. Now, that I wanted to take issue with. So I asked to see the manager. I told him politely that I could not imagine that they were actually charging Rs.170 for half a lime and a glass of water and some ice. He said something about the ambience and the air-conditioning. (Is it me or am I seeing a pattern here?) I said, I would pay Rs.50 for the ambience plus five for the water, another five for the ice and five again for the limbu and Rs.30 towards all the salaries and overheads. That came up to, I calculated, Rs.100. Could I have a glass of lime and water for Rs.100?

It seems they don't play India's favourite game in air-conditioned spaces.

Pinto is the award winning author of Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb.
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