Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bargaining on the Streets of Delhi

Delhi is a bargain hunter’s paradise for it offers innumerable avenues for buying products sometimes at throwaway prices. Be it the malls, five star shops or usual shopping complexes or even bylanes and shops on pavements, each offering is unique. Sales at malls, shops closing down sometimes offer products at lower than cost prices, this is specially true for interiors, craft, curio shops in the Hauz Khas Village, Shahpurjat, Neb Sarai. Yes, even a casual visit to the areas can bring out gems – the key patience in the hunt and not to loose heart easily!! I have picked up some exquisite stuff in this manner.

When bargaining the rule is never show your love for the product, for if the shopkeeper sees even the slightest gleam of love for it in your eyes, he /she will not budge an inch in the negotiations. The trick is to keep the emotions on hold, a very dispassionate appeal and pretend to let the seller convince you to buy it. You know the oft – “I am not too keen on it, I do have plenty which are similar but I do like it and won’t mind another similar piece and well I can afford it” look!!! 

The price is the million dollar question. Depending on the market the variations can be from less 10% to 1/3rdIndia not familiar with Hindi. Hindi is the street language, even a wee bit of English the prices say stuck. My confessions, an enthusiastic description of my writings on craft resulted in the price of enamel silver box being hiked from rate of silver plus Rs. 4/- per gm for making charges to Rs. 25/- per gm for making. The justification, since I wrote on craft I would definitely understand the nuances and time for making and would be prepared to pay for it. And of course that other Emporiums, in well known places sell it for more. My dual that since he was the middle man there was no justification in paying the making charges to him, yes if he were a craftsman it would still be okay!!! No and I do not patronize the shop any more!!!! of the price quoted. It is best to play it by the ear. A little recce of the market can give you an idea about the prices, products… If you are foreigner the price does shoot up, the same is true for Indians from other parts of

Boni (pronounced bo as in boat and nee) is the time of the day when business begins usually early morning or when the shop opens. It can vary from as early as 6:00 am to 11:00 am or 12:00 am depending when the shop opens. It is an ideal time for bargain buys, to get the first business of the day, the shopkeeper will at times reduce the prices very sharply. So at times, one can get the product for the price one actually asked. The caveat of course is that, the seller will expect you to pay up and take delivery immediately. And can get annoyed to the extent of shouting expletives if you refuse to buy after bargaining. The boni and its nuances another article does talk of this in great humorous detail. The basic concept though is that, Boni means the first business of the day. A superstition that if the first deal of the day is good, then the business will be good that entire day. Some sellers even have regulars whom they insist on selling the first thing in the morning, assuring that their hand is very good. As the first sale from their hand will result in good sales the rest of the day. Therefore, if shopping in the morning or when the shops open, be careful with your bargaining and don’t go bargaining for products which you may choose not to buy.  Else, be prepared to buy what you bargained for.

I still remember while trying out Kurtas at DilliHaat, with my cousin, the shop was practically empty and though noon, there had not been any sale. Anyway in the process of our browsing we realized that several more had walked in and we cursed our luck as it meant jostling in the tiny shop. The shopkeeper though termed us lucky for the shop saying, some customers have the ability that the moment they step in more will follow!!! That is the extent of belief when it comes to having good sales!
(So happy bargaining!!!)

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