Sunday, November 30, 2008

the philosophy of bargain

delhi is a shopper's paradise. it is an experience. you never know what is the right price. nor the right place. or the right time to stop, or the vendor might even choose to ignore you!

before heading back home in the next few days (i leave tomorrow, n my friends leave in the days following), a few of us went shopping. janpath. karol bagh. missed out on darya ganj. still regretting. however, the title of the post has nothing to do with the stuff we bought (very less) and the stuff we bargained for (a lot). it has to do with the final leg of our journey back to hostel. after shopping , that is. half an hour in hostel, n we again left for dinner.

Standing at the Junction A, my friend d (not the one with whom i went to manali) and i, started waving autorickshaws and asking if they would take us to Junction B (the names of places changed, obviously, for privacy's sake. don't try to find out if we paid extra in the end!) the first guy said, "150". we said, "OK sir, aap chaliye."

the next guy said, "120". again, we repeated our refrain.
the third guy went back to 150.

since we were in no hurry, and almost tired of bargaining, we asked them no further, and they went ahead in certainty that there would be people ready to travel in their autos, at any exorbitant rates they ask, or argue with them and finally reach a decision after minutes of negotiation. that's what we've been doing the entire day except when in metro or in nirula's. but i could see that they were disappointed that we didn't argue. a nice argument and more money- payoffs from any trip. not for us. at least, this day.

then came our lucky break. when asked, this guy told us the rate to be 90. and we got in happily. no more arguments. that's when this thought struck me- had we argued, we would have to go by 70 or 80! which means, we're giving this guy 10-20 rs extra, not that we are in dire need for those 10 or 20. then another though struck me- now, the driver would be thinking, 'oh man, i should have told 120 or so, and these ppl would have agreed!'

so that is the final result of a no-bargain situation. both the players feel cheated out. we just chose not to bargain, and we stole the feeling of satisfaction from that auto-driver. at the same time, when we buy stuff from janpath market or karol bagh, without a bargain, we feel cheated out. 'only if i had walked down a few more shops, i would have got it cheaper!'

but it is fun. that is a type of fun i never could have where i came from. the only thing that i ever bargained for in kerala has been for extending of assignment submission dates. n strangely, that kind of things don't happen here!

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