I was lost in admiration. Coming from my comfortable Western world, I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking for a discount. The price seemed fixed to me.
It reminded me of a scene when I was in Africa as a tourist. This street vendor was speaking to me loudly and rapidly, holding up first one beaded necklace and then another, all in a language I couldn’t understand.
“I don’t speak English,” I said.
He continued jabbering at me in another language.
“How much?” I finally asked.
Immediately, without blinking an eye, he said, “Twenty” – in clear, unmistakable English!
Ah, money – that universal translator. But for some reason, something not quite so universal is the desire to barter, haggle and negotiate. When I go into a supermarket store, for instance, I expect to pay the listed price.
For big things like buying a house, or a car, or even with salary negotiations, I’m uncomfortable trying to haggle. This article on the Forbes blog, “Why Men Are Better Negotiators Than Women,” listed some points that made a lot of sense to me.
Do you find it easy to barter? Or are you like me, far more comfortable paying the sticker price (and presumably getting ripped off)?