Friday, May 28, 2010

Haggling With Hags

Ok I admit it, the title of this blog entry is quite harsh.  Let me just be up front about it first though.  I am a tried and true hardcore haggler.  I will negotiate the price of something until I absolutely get the rock bottom price (or until at least I think I got the rock bottom price).  I have been known to spend hours just trying to get the best deal, many times at the expense of my friends saying, "Geez it's just a dollar."  Well let me tell you a dollar can go a long way in many parts of Asia, all my fellow travelers know this.  Anyway, what you see above you is a basket used to carry your toiletries.  I needed one because there was a communal bathroom in my dormitory at Beijing Foreign Studies University.  I haggled to death for this basket... so bad did I haggle that a hag selling the other basket called me a liar and told me to get out of her store. 

*Warning!  Please don't do this to the extent I did.  It is ok to haggle but not when 30 cents or less USD is involved.  Ok everyone is different but that is just me.  It makes a bad ambassador out of you for your respective countries.  I won't do it again for sure.

To make a long story short the hag's basket started off at 15 RMB.  Ok so that is equivalent to a little over 2 USD.  In my opinion you could get something like this at the dollar store, so in my mind I was like, "No ways!"  I told her 5 RMB which is around 73 cents.  She was like, "Haha get outta here that is too cheap."  So she gave the offer of 12 RMB.  I thought hmm, still too expensive, still over a dollar!  I told her I would go next door and figure out what the cost of a similar basket was, she lowered the price to 8 RMB, but I thought it would be worth it to gauge the cost from the other basket.  The man next door gave the same initial offer of 15 RMB.  But through haggling went down to 6 RMB because I gave him the, I'm gonna go next door and find out how much the hag is gonna sell it to me treatment.  I went back to her and told her about what the man next door was offering me.  That is when she said it, "You're a liar, get outta my store, I'm not selling to you."  I went back to the man and bought my basket for 6 RMB! 

Total savings through haggling:  9 RMB ($1.31)

Not bad, but I also may have cost some shame to my fellow Americans.  But hey, I'm Asian by ethnicity so she probably thought I was Korean or Japanese.  So in the end, successful day at haggling, but I felt bad for the hag...  All for a silly basket.

2 comments:

  1. LOL Wow you are brave. I couldn't haggle .. I'm really terrible at bargaining. Well, at least you have that skill! LOL

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  2. Haha it is a skill that you must learn, otherwise you get taken advantage of. What a better place to learn the skill than in China? Believe me, I have another story about Vietnam, where haggling saved me LOTS of money...

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