I have spent almost a year in India now, at a stretch. And the art of bargaining is coming into my character, very slow but I am making progress. Living in India, purchase is always done by bargaining. I have never really been comfortable with this act. Infact I am the best customer any vendor could get; I just pay what I am asked for. You say 300 I’ll pay 300, you say 50 I’ll pay 50 without asking how or why? Not an Indian trait. I somehow find it cheap or may be degrading to bargain. No idea really!
Sometimes I visit this off the street vegetable vendor in the evening on my way home from work. The vendor is sometimes nice to me to let go off a rupee or two. And thanks to his acquaintance I am slowly learning how to bargain. There are different levels to bargaining. It’s really an art. You should know the right amount to bargain, have a bit of idea of the general market price, give out the right reason for your bargain etc etc. Like my dad has always brought the grocery at home and he knows the market prices of all the items so well from the newspaper, he’ll argue with the vendors saying the newspaper quoted this price and you are asking for more!!! You have to be updated with the latest info to not be fooled.
Today I stopped to buy bunch of spinach. The kid at the store said 6/- a bunch. I said fine, I’ll take 2 for 10. The kid said, no ma’m it’s actually 7/- and I am giving you for 6/-. I told him to call the regular owner and when I asked him he said the same, 6/- a bunch. I was quick. I said “come on it’s not even that fresh looking..I am gonna cook it only tomorrow. 10 for is fine”
The thing about vegetables is that vendors want to sell them off by the end of the day, as the shelf life of the commodity is small. Especially leafy vegetables. So the same bunch of spinach which is 10/- each at 5pm becomes 6/- each by 7pm. And if I am buying two I can BARGAIN it at 10/- for 2. J And hence I saved 2 rupees today. Not a big deal..but someday I might be able to bargain more. Baby steps at becoming a true Indian ha haha..
Like how Russell Peters says about Indian customers-
Customer: 60/-….blah blah blah
Vendor: Ok Last price 120/- Take it…and go…Take it and go!
Customer: Last price 80/-
And the deal is done at 100!!!