11 Nov 2010
HOW I LEARNED HAGGLING
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
H is for "haggling"
If you go shopping in Egypt you have to haggle ! For everything even in drugstores, where I saw a young father haggling for a price for nappies for his baby ! He got them for almost half of the requested price. Haggling is worthwhile !
Lots of people don't like to haggle because they are not used to it. I have learned it quiet early, in fact when I went with Mr G. for the first time to Italy. In 1968 everybody haggled it was just part of the folklore ! In the shops and on the markets you had to haggle to get a reasonable price. There were no lables at all !
The first time I went with him to the Garda Lake, he had haggled for the price for our hotel room and as the wife of the owner was one of his ex girlfriends, he got a good price.We also we were allowed to share one room, which at that time wasn't allowed in Italy without a marriage certificate ! Being unmarried and sharing a double room was a big sin. A very profitable law for Hotel owners, who could therefore rent two rooms !
He also bought me jewelry, for that he had another ex girlfriend who had a jewelry shop. They both haggled for the price of a ring and I was standing there with eyes like saucers but I got my ring for very cheap.
Slowly slowly I started too ! I never agreed to a price. At that time we bought quiet a lot of decoration stuff for our new appartment and I always was very proud when after a long haggling I only payed half of the requested price.
So the fact that I had to haggle again in Egypt brought back nice souvenirs and of course I tried and checked if I was still good at it ! and in all modesty I am ! Egyptians have a lot of humor and haggling is a sport. Actually they are quiet disappointed if you pay the full price right away. (Not with the Russian speaking people, they get the double price because they are so unfriendly to the locals !)
Now when I want to buy something I go under half of the price and then slowly go up with lots of discussions and laughter til we meet in the middle and both of us are happy. I then add : "What you lost with me you can add on the price of the next Russian woman" ! I am weird !
Once I wanted to buy a bracelet. It costed let's say 10 €. I said that's far too much I only can pay 4 ! He answered I would ruin him and his family, took out a hanky and dried some invisible tears. I said : and I will get in trouble with my husband, took out a tissue and rubbed my eyes. With sobbing and discussing and meanwhile surrounded by tourists and lots of locals we finally came to an agreement ! I would get my bracelet for 5 € ! That was OK for me.
Immediately he stopped crying, put his hanky in his pocket and started to laugh ! He said "you are such a good business woman, here take the bracelet it's a gift from me "! First I didn't want to accept but I had to, he insisted so much, so I gave him my little calculator on which he had layed an eye since the beginning ! (business is business !)
And then we all had a cup of tea together ! Egyptians are called the Italians of North Africa, always ready for fun and joke !
Learning to haggle in 1968