It is an art form my dear friends and the best barterers are long gone.
But there remain a group of us committed to making sure we get the best deal. I come from a long line of people who love to barter.
It began when I got a good deal from the anday (egg) man. Whenever I see I an Asian fella behind the counter I automatically say...’What is your best price?’ Anything goes and unless I get 50 per cent off I am not leaving the store. I also love to really humiliate the shop keeper and make him feel his goods and services are worthless.
However, things don’t go to plan when you hit the Asian sub-continent. Over there you may well think you are king but the bloke behind the counter has experience. He has lived through years of haggling with the very cream of Asian deal-getters - The Auntie-jees. So, when he sees you stroll into his joint he already has sights on your dollars.
‘How much these glasses?’ “500 rupees’. he replies “I give you 200’.
“Brother what are doing? That is not even cost price....please 400’. “‘No, 210.” I exclaim.
“I can’t do less than 350. This is very high quality designer style”.
“No, 220 and I take it now.”
“Listen bhai what are you doing to us. We are trying to make a living here. 350 is very good price.”
“No 230.’ At this point I use the tactic of walking out of the store. He pauses and as I reach the door says. ‘Okay Okay...230. You get very good price.’ I won and it feels good. He stares at me with that anguished look..no words can describe his frustration and anger.
He will long remember the day this Valaitee tattu walked into his shop.
To add to his misery I don’t hand over the money but throw it in his direction and leave the shop.
On my way out I meet my aunt and show her the glasses I bought.
She looks at me and pulls me back into the shop - marches up to the counter and says.
“Bachay. Yeh glasses, how much?”
The shop keeper still counting the money I handed over, now has this horrified look on him. “Auntie, it is very good quality - 230 rupees.”
Auntie grabs the 230 rupees.
And then it happens - the owner of the shop begins to drop the price himself.
“Auntie, 175 rupees is best I can do.
Okay 150? Auntie please I can do for 100".
Still no answer from Auntie.
She pretends to be looking at some clothes and ignoring him completely.
“Auntie-jee is 75 rupees okay?".
Moments later he is defeated... “Auntie, just leave what you want that is okay by me".
Auntie looks at me....takes 20 rupees out of the wad of notes and leaves it on the counter.
She sighs and says...“And keep the change, baitay.”