Thursday, January 18, 2007

Negotiations, Part Deux

As part of my walks through Beijing, I came across an indoor market, filled again filled with your favorite "brands," and I decided to try my luck again. Not to belabor the shopping in China topic, but here it goes. . .

After some browsing, I got in lost and I stumbled upon a bulletin board for the staff. This picture should show you what I'm up against:

Well, now that I knew my enemy it was time to start the battle. I needed a light jacket and soon found an “Adidas” one I kind of liked. I tried it on, and asked her price:

“New design. Very popular. For you special price. 680 (US $80).”

- “Come on! That’s the US price and I’m in China.”

“OK! OK! 300! Still very good price.”

- “I’m sorry I’m a student. I don’t have a lot of money I can’t afford that.”

“OK So what you pay?”

- “150”


- “Well I gotta go.” And I start leaving

“OK! OK! 150” and she starts wrapping it. . .

- “Actually I don’t want it anymore, thanks for your help.”

She gets angry. “Come on! You being naughty! You bargain with me and I give you your price! You play me! You waste my time!”

- “I’m not playing you. Sorry, I just changed my mind.”

“You evil mean boy! You waste my time! I in business and need to make sale.”

- “Who’s playing whom here? Plus, just because you want to sell me something doesn’t mean I have to buy.”

I try to leave, but she physically blocks my way and her associate, another small Chinese girl, comes to help impede my path. I was not intimidated mentally or especially physically.

I start pushing through, and she goes “OK! 140,” I break through and she goes “120!” I start walking away and she screams “OK 100!!!!” Meanwhile the other stall-keepers turn to look at the commotion.

I probably could have gotten her down further, but decide to throw in the towel and give her the money. Plus, I actually liked the jacket.

Just like me to create a scene to save a few bucks.

**Sorry this somehow failed to post originally***

As she's bagging the jacket. She says "Tell all your student friends what good deal you get, so they come buy from me."

- "Don't worry, I'll definitely tell them all about it" I respond.

Done and Done, I've kept my word. I guess I'm not such an "evil mean boy" after all, though I doubt this is what she had in mind.


shmoo said...

Hmm... not sure I approve your tactics here, man. Bargaining her below your opening offer. I guess it worked though.

Be careful with some of these products. Our tour guide in China referred to them as the "three generation shirts" (or pants or whatever). You buy it and wear it, then wash it and you give it to your child, then they wash it and give it their grandchild.

SloopJohnBSLW said...

Yeah I know, I always assume the quality is poor and say how much would I pay for 2-3 wearings. . . If I get more than its a bonus.

As for the tactics, I had actually changed my mind when she met my price. However, when she started going lower I just played along. . .

Le Voyageur said...

I disagree with Shmoo on this one, I totally dug your approach. Maybe its just in my genes, but the way I see it, you got a great value and she still made a profit - no one forced her to bargain. I think it may be in her genes...

Wait a minute Shmoo, shouldn't it be in your genes too?! ;)

shmoo said...


Le Voyageur said...

Yeah I knew that was coming. But I'm going to maintain that given my current location, you're not allowed to take it personally.

shmoo said...

Oh yeah, "some of my best friends are black"...