Bargain like a gypsy, but pay like a gentleman, says a Hungarian proverb.
I have never mastered the art of bargaining. In fact, I stand at a distance when my wife bargains at certain shops. Amazingly, she mostly triumphs quoting lesser prices.
She also knows the outlets where the trick will not work. When she finds a shopkeeper irritated by her haggling, she would push me to the forefront to bear the brunt of verbal assault.
What is funny is that I find many prominent shops announcing 50 per cent or even 70 per cent reduction in prices almost round the year. I have seen a 70 per cent price reduction board at a brand shop in a prime location for nearly a decade. Does it mean that they make a huge profit even when they sell at a 30 per cent price? It’s a mystery.
My personal experience of bargaining has been a crushing defeat, literally.
I was walking with a group of friends when a roadside vendor in Mumbai flashed colourful dress material for sale. Not keen to buy, I quoted less than half the price.
“Take it,” came the reply, leaving me dumbfounded.
I fell for the bait, picked a shirt piece and merrily went home. Thinking that I should wash the cloth before I gave it to a tailor for stitching, I drenched it in a bucket of water and left it for drying.
Next day, I could not identify the material as it was totally crumbled and in the size of an undergarment.