On the first day of Dr. Khan’s negotiation’s course this semester, I labeled myself as the “compromiser” that avoids conflict and will settle very quickly. To many who know me well, know that this is very true when it comes to everyday negotiations; I’ll much rather reach a compromise and move on. Well I quickly learned while in India that this wasn’t very true at all when it came to bargaining at the bazaar shops.
On our very first shopping experience, we all were excited to get the opportunity to finally get some souvenirs, scarves, bangles, etc. While Dr. Khan warned us to always shoot for a 50% discount as we were all getting smacked with the “foreigner tourist” prices, sometimes we found that to be very tough. It was definitely a learning experience, and it took a lot of back and forth with the merchants to even get to that 50% price so we could at least feel that we had some bargaining skills to be proud of. While we were very pleased with our purchases, we later learned that we indeed were still ripped off to a certain extent.
We got the chance to visit one of the most recognized structures in Hyderabad, a mosque that has become a global icon for this city, also known as the Charminar. Surrounding this mosque were streets filled with bazaar shopping, and this was our last chance to get any souvenirs from India as we were getting ready to head out to Dubai soon after. I told myself this is the chance to try and be as aggressive as possible and ultimately have fun
shopping and waste no time. We started with bangle shopping, I fell in love with a set of 6 bangles per color and of course all of the colors were beautiful. This is how the conversation went:
Me: What’s the price for these bangles?
Seller: Madam for you, 1200 rupees perset
Me: Whoahh, that’s a lot don’t you think?
Seller: That’s the best price I’m giving you…
Me: Well I want other colors too, so 4 sets total, so you have to give me a better price
Seller: If you buy 4 than I give you 4,200 rupees all together (600 rupees discount).
Me: That’s way too expensive, I can’t do that…
Seller: Well how much do you want to pay Madam? (He hands me the calculator to write my price)
Me: I respond 1000 rupees FOR ALL 4 SETS!
Seller: No way madam, that’s a loss for me, no no that’s too much
Me: (As this was the first shop we stopped at) That’s my final price, this is the first place I stopped at so if you agree than we have a deal, if not, then there are many more to see.
Seller: You can have all 4 for 3000 rupees (we’re now at 1800 rupees discount)
Me: 1000 rupees is my final price
Seller: No madam, I can’t do that…
Me: Okay then, have a great day (started walking out of the shop)
Seller: Okay okay madam, all 4 for 2000 rupees
Me: 1000 is still my final price.
Seller: okay 1500 rupees…
Me: 1000 and we have a deal, or have a good day
Seller: Okay Okay 1000 rupees for all 4 sets. (that’s 3800 rupees less than asking price, talk about winning!!)
Me: Perfect (meanwhile jumping up with joy in the inside as I hand him the cash)
I couldn’t believe it, I was seriously in shock that he even agreed and it wasn’t even that hard considering our very first bargaining experience. I thought maybe I was just lucky, and decided to give it another try. I was successful every single time, it was insane! One of my other favorites was helping my colleague Rachi as we were leaving get similar bangles to the ones some of us got earlier on. We were short on time as the bus was on its way to pick us up, so we had to hurry. Here is how it went:
Rachi (Nickname for Rachel): How much are these bangles?
Seller: 400-600 rupees each set (I can’t recall exactly…)
Me: We will give you 200 rupees for two sets
Seller: No No madam, I will take a loss like that
Me: We just bought the same ones down the street for the same price
Seller: No I don’t believe it
Me: Well that’s our final price, otherwise we will go back to the other shop
Rachi: I’ll give you 220 rupees (As she takes out cash from her bag)
Seller: (Begins wrapping the bangles while still trying to keep the price much higher) No madam, 800 rupees for both…
Me: (I grab the money from Rachi and put them on the table as I grab the bangles) That’s all we have, thank you so much. (Then Rachi and I walked out without adding another word.. clearly as winners).
The rest of the team was so shocked, they said to me but you can’t do that, isn’t that like stealing? I said if I was stealing he would have followed me out of the door, yet he took the money and accepted the deal and just stood in place. Dr. Khan says to me: I think you have mastered bargaining better than the Indians… haha!
Moral of the story is be as aggressive as you possibly can, and if you insist you will definitely get at least the 50% that Dr. Khan taught us, if not better. You may not be lucky with some as I wasn’t either, some of them just looked at me like I was crazy, but I just went somewhere else and didn’t settle. At the end of the day I realized it wasn’t so hard, I got really great deals and helped my friends get good bargains also, all while having a great time. (Hoping this serves as an underlying reason towards that A in negotiations class, haha).