Bargaining with poor vendors is Cheap

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Bargaining with poor vendors is Cheap

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I never liked bargaining. Right from childhood, I was different from most of the people in this sense. I felt ashamed to ask someone if I could pay less than what they asked for. I felt like it was an insult to both the buyer and the seller.

I mean, most of the people in India are so happy to bargain. In fact, many of them are looking forward to it. It is like a pastime for them, like some of us go to a movie or the beach, or play computer games or watch sports on television, or reading magazines etc. Their eyes light up when they know they have to go shopping from a street vendor, or a jewelry or clothing store or appliances etc.  It was not fun for me, though.  I never relished it.

Many of them are very skilled in bargaining. They know where to start! They know exactly when the vendor is asking for more than the worth of the product. They know when to give in. I guess  I too could have mastered this art, but I don’t like it.  You may say, “Well, bargaining is well established in India.  We cannot stop now. ” That’s true.  But I can understand this argument if it is for an expensive item such as a carpet, or antique statues, or costly jewelry etc.  Not with a poor street vendor selling vegetables! Come on…

I do understand that bargaining is there everywhere in the world these days, including the richest countries. But it is usually for costly or high-priced products which we don’t buy every day or frequently. First, people shop around and look for places where this item can be purchased for the lowest price. If they find it hard to afford this item easily, they bargain. They offer their price politely and the salesman either agrees or offers a counter offer. This goes on until either the sale is made or the customer leaves to find another store.

Even for groceries, such as vegetables, dairy, breads, grains and all other household products that we need for our daily use, people in these rich countries too, do look for bargains. But they don’t haggle with the vendor. They compare prices and quality of products themselves, and then choose one that suits them.

I love this. Prices are fixed. I choose what I want from many choices. I don’t have to play the “wondering game”. What I mean is, in bargaining, you have to guess and wonder what a good price would be. There is a chance you may be fooled but you may be thinking that you were really smart! No one likes to be fooled. This is a lot of stress. This is why I don’t like bargaining. I want peace of mind.

Also, in bargaining, there is no equality. Everyone is not treated the same. One person who is an expert in bargaining may end up getting the product for a very good price, whereas someone else may end up paying more. Where is the justice in that!

But the real reason I am vexed about bargaining is that it is done with poor or simple street vendors in India. Many men or women are selling vegetables or other grocery items for their day to day living. Their earning is not to become filthy rich, but to make ends meet. How can one bargain with these people? I read an article by someone else about this, and the author also was against the idea of bargaining with ordinary vendors.  There were comments on this, and one of the reply comment was that the malls and big grocery stores have to pay for overhead, taxes, electric bills etc., but the simple vendor does not have these payments; so he gets the full profit. Yeah right! As though the street vendor is going to become a millionaire by the profit he makes!! The reply comment is a joke!

Besides, I feel that the question should not be if the vendor asks a little more than usual, but the question should be, “Can the buyer afford to pay the amount the poor vendor asked?” After all, it is a simple street vendor we are talking about. Why not give them what they ask, if it is reasonable but perhaps slightly more we expected? Why not be a little generous? We are blessed that we are well off. Why not help those who are less fortunate?

Most probably, the street vendors could become an endangered species later in time. They may be replaced completely by small shops or stores.  Why not appreciate and enjoy them while we can?  How can we be happy when others are unhappy?  I am not saying that we can solve the world’s problems or go on a crusade to help poor people.  All I am saying is, on a daily basis, when an opportunity presents itself for us to be a little charitable and kind to others, let’s use it and do so.  I am sure you will agree with me on this!

As I always mention, everything we mostly do is because of habit. People generally are not mean or miserly. Bargaining is just a habit. We don’t think and ponder about these things. We just go by whatever we usually do and what others do. We don’t understand what a big difference it will make in the life of a person who works hard to make a living and feed themselves and their family, if we pay them a little more.  We don’t recognize the happiness we will get when we see the surprise and smile light up on their faces. We don’t realize that what goes around comes around too; so what we give will come back with interest, in one way or the other, sooner or later.

So let’s be kind to the simple street vendors.  Let’s banish bargaining!  Let’s all be happy together!

Bargain3Customers choosing vegetables Bargain8Hope today we will make a little more money.
Bargain2Vendor lady is waiting for a customer Bargain9How cheap can you get, Sir? We are poor.

I am a foreigner, so I don’t want to pay what you want.


Sorry, I’ve got to take a nap. I have worked too hard..

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