The difference between negotiating, bargaining and haggling in Bangalore: Part 2

I love hanging out with my cousin. The last two weeks I have spent more time with him and he consistently keeps me in splits. More about that later. This was our fridge buying experience. Remember the Reliance Digital store with no electricity? Well, we were back there this time for buying a new fridge.

The selection of fridges left me impressed. The latest LG refrigerator with built-in Television has apparently been in the top 5 bestseller list. It costs $1200. Whoa. That’s more than the annual pay for over 60% Indians. I dont even have a Television at home, so having one with the fridge is a ridiculous proposition to me.

We had been there before to check out the selection and had narrowed down on an LG model (530 L), which is very large and looks real nice. The saleslady had noticed us eyeing the same model the previous time, so I think she knew that we were interested in it.

The model was a discontinued one and the only available piece was the floor display unit. Having been to Fry’s several times and knowing all about display units, I was uneasy recommending its purchase. But of course, wives rule, so this was the unit we needed.

“Hello sir, do you like this model” says the sales lady, adding “it was a bestseller last year”. I bristle. “If ever model was a bestseller, then which model did not sell?” I countered.

“The ones that did not sell, we returned to the manufacturer”, she replies not missing a beat. Probably adding under her breath “moron!”.

“Since this is a floor model, we want a discount, there are some dings, scratches”, says my cousin.

“Please wait” she says returning in 30 seconds with a younger kid who’s got a calculator in his hand. This ought to be fun I think to myself.

“Okay sir” ventures the young kid (possibly not older than 19, “We can give you 5% off”.

“Huh? 5% is not even a discount, it wont even cover VAT” (Value Added Tax, like Sales tax), I protest.

“No sir. That’s what I can give you” he replies.

” I want a minimum 15% discount” professes my cousin.

“Not here sir” he says ” the computer wont let me give you more than 5%”.

Liar, I thought. “Okay, we’ll go elsewhere” – seemingly being the best back up plan for us, knowing fully well the wife would give us both hell for not getting her what she wanted.

“How about buying a new model sir”, the older sales lady offers.

“No, we want this model or we are not buying here”, I reply.

“We can give you 8% maximum sir” the young kid now replies, “but you have to take it as is. This fridge comes with no box, and if there are scratches, you have to adjust”. The dreaded adjust word again.

“No we want 10% or we wont buy” counters my cousin.

“Sorry sir, then you will have to go elsewhere” the kid replies.

“How about we throw in free delivery and setup” offers the sales lady.

I get a little excited and it shows. Having bought stuff at Sears and Fry’s before this was at least $100 I thought.

“That’s always free. Every store I know provides that free” counters my cousin.
Value of local knowledge I think to myself.

“We can give you 8% sir and give you delivery by tomorrow and also give you a voltage stabilizer” is the kids final offer, since he was willing to walk away.

“9% and the voltage stabilizer” counters my cousin.

“No, sir, sorry, you have to buy another model or go elsewhere” is the kids final word as he starts to walk off.

Okay I think, buy it was going to be my advice to my cousin. But, he waits for the kid with the calculator to walk away, then looks at other models, and sighs “Okay, we have to go to eZone (another electronics store nearby”.

“Sir, if you take the floor model I can also put your name in a daily draw for a surround sound theater system” offers the sales lady.

That seemed to have done it for us. Ahh the daily draw. The chance of 1 in 10293223424298423 to win a surround sound system. The chance to tell the wife that we got a good deal and PLUS we were entered in a draw for a surround sound system. Never mind that we did not ever need it. We can always blame it on luck if we dont win.

I thought we were done, but he bargaining had just begun. The payment method was the next – credit cards would be charged 1% extra, if you needed it bubble wrapped that’s extra, if you needed to have it delivered to a location more than 4 miles, that’s extra.

Oh bargaining by a 1000 papercuts, I dont think I can handle the back and forth anymore I thought. That’s where they get you apparently. Wear you down so you pretty much give in. Unless you are prepared for a 2-3 hour session.