Yes it is a big deal! I got a bigger deal….
Yet another post replying to something by the profoundly funny Mr.Nandy….I remember my marketing professor quoting some business hotshot:
“The customer is not a fool. She is your wife.”
And now that our superior business acumen has been acknowledged, I will proceed to turn a deaf ear to the MCP jokes on women shoppers and share our gyaan with the less-initiated section of the population.
Here, my dear child, is your Beginner’s guide to bargaining. I was tempted to name that ‘Bargaining for dummies (read men!)’ but you just might accuse me of being a feminist…
- Assume that anyone who wants to sell you anything is out to make a killing. The nicer/sweeter/politer the salesperson, the more suspect he/she is. If he/she is not nice/sweet/polite, then he/she doesn’t deserve your custom. Remember every product is available at more than one place and if its not, well just pay up and quit grumbling about the price tag!
- Assume that they have X-ray vision and can see just how much you can spend. The trick is in making them think you have twice as much as you actually do but are willing to spend less than half of what they think you will. Did you get that? Go back and read it a hundred times if necessary.
Some simple points to remember:
- A rupee saved is a rupee gained. It should be evident to everyone but most men I know still persist in thinking that bargaining is just not worth the trouble. Think of all the money you’re saving…that’s why a good purchase is called “A bargain!”
- You are the customer and the customer is RULEZ! If you think that’s just MBA funda, go ask your friendly neighborhood grocer why he stocks what he does. The answer will unanimously be “Because that is what people want.” The corner paan-wala down my road sells bread and sweets because the residents want him to have it on hand. He also doesn’t sell cigarettes (This is a colony with children after all!!!!) and stores eggs under the counter (only for the few who ask for it and to avoid offending the predominantly vegetarian population of the colony).
- Be brash, be arrogant, be insistent, be demanding….and most of all be persistant. It really pays….check your wallet at the end of the day. If you really like something, consider this: He is THE seller who has what you want, but you are just one customer in all that he sees. Stand there and annoy him till he gives you what you want!
- Bargaining is a mind-game. The buyer and the seller each want to convert the other to their point of view. Play it like you play all your sports/video games/any other combative activity. Stay confident and cool…sometimes it helps to look impatient and like if you get bored with the conversation, you can just walk away. Whether you actually feel it or not, remember that in negotiation, the upper hand belongs to the party that can walk away first.
- Feel free to ask as low a price as you want. The worst thing that will happen is that he will refuse. My thumb rule for buying clothes (the most bargainable commodity I think!) is to ask for a little less than half the price quoted. I’d be willing to come up to about 50% more than my last quote. For those of you who think maths is alien torture, learn to at least divide by 2 and after that do it again and add it to your second figure. If that doesn’t make sense, carry a calculator.
- There are a whole series of by-plays enacted in this game. The “I don’t have any more money but I want that soooo much!”….to be tried only on the nice/sweet/polite types. The ‘My last offer. Take it or leave it’ –and-pretending-to-walk-away is my favorite parting shot. If he doesn’t call you back, he’s obviously found someone he can rip off for more, so don’t bother wasting your time.
All that said and done, I always wonder how my dad, one of the wisest people I know (and one of the few in that hallowed list who is male!!!) can preach that ‘Price has nothing to do with the actual value’ and be a complete no-show at bargaining. Is it gender instinctual, do you think? And they call us the weaker sex….and they say aggression is a male trait….