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Thursday, December 10, 2009

How about a deal?

A conversation at the long thanksgiving weekend (sunday)

Little One: Daddy, how about I make a deal with you?

Me : ???? ok. tell me what the deal is?

LO : If you let me stay at home for 3 more days, I will go to school for 2 days. OK? (big nodding of head, gleeful smile, a face that almost wants you to say "okay kuttyma!")

Me : How about I make a deal with you?

LO : What deal?

Me : you go to school for the next five days and then you don't have to go to school for two days after that!

LO : !!!!!!!! How about I stay home for three more days and then go?

Me : It is either my deal or no deal.

LO : Fine then.

San and me were laughing away after this conversation.

In the meantime Jr. had figured out my deal wasn't really a deal because the little one was going to stay home for the weekend anyways and was giggling.

The little one knew that something wasn't right and she was given no bargaining power, but went on with life.

On the bright side, my little girl knows the concept of bargaining. It is a pity that we don't get to bargain here at stores.. you buy, you scan, you pay! The whole thrill of haggling over something and coming away with a feeling of having bought something at a reduced price after a verbal volleying is just lost in a supermarket.

When I was a little boy, it would be amazing to watch my grandma, grandpa and most importantly my dad bargain.

Grandma : "Konjam solli kudu paa?" (translates to please tell me a new lower price. the exact translation doesn't make sense but pretty sure that is what she says to the vendors).. Grandma pleaded with vendors.

Grandpa : If the guy was selling 3 mangoes for 3 rupees, he would pick 4 and go "please take 3". usually the guys would settle for somewhere between 3 and 4 rupees.. what with grandpa already bagging the mangoes and clearly declaring his intent to buy! Or he was picking something like eggplants or grapes, he would ask them to add a little extra after the whole thing was weighed and about to be transferred to his bag.

Mom: (who worked and retired a teacher in the local government school for 40 years) knew every vendor in the area because either they were her students who dropped out of school at some point or their kids were her current students.. She would not bargain. She would get a fair price, but would start talking about the kids, their progress reports, why the woman at the store should send her kid to school and put her drunkard husband in his place, etc. etc. The out of school social service stuff would go on for 20 minutes and my brother and me would go "if only mom spent as much time with us as she did with her students!"

Dad : Picks mangoes very carefully, asks for price, places picked mangoes at corner of vendors cart and walks away in "sticker" shock after he hears price. Goes away a few paces and turns and asks vendor "is that your final price?".. the guys who know my dad all too well (they have been bargaining with him for 30 years plus anyways) would say "vaa saar.. kochikinu pona eppidi! inniki eppidiyum beram pannama pomaate!" (come Sir.. dont get angry and walk away.. you are not going to leave without a bargain). Depending on how much time they had and how much my dad thought those mangoes were worth, the walking back and forth would take a good 20 minutes.

As a small kid, it didn't matter to me because there was plenty of things on south mada street to distract me. However, as I became older, there was no patience for this 20 minute time spent to save fifty paisa. There was homework to be done, TV to be watched, etc. etc. and would always fight my dad to ask him to stop bargaining.

This would always make me chose grandpa when it came to accompanying someone for grocery shopping.

Now that I am older, the art of bargaining has a strange appeal. It is like my dad transferred some bargaining gene to me.

May not make the best bargains (especially compared to San) but getting there!


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:59 PM, Blogger Kavi wrote...

In the day and age where deals / bargains land on the inbox or the spam box, the olden day world of connecting with another human....negotiating was different indeed !!

Those were days. That taught us that there is scope for more. If only you push. Somehow thats gotten ingrained ! And that practice is on. Even now !

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 1:25 AM, Blogger Sriram wrote...

lol at ur dad's way of bargaining. reminded me of my thatha.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...


maybe you should consider taking your father with you on your next car-buying trip. :-)

- s.b.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:19 AM, Blogger janani wrote...

My mom is the master bargainer in my family! She bargains with everyone - right from the vegetable vendor to the the proprietor of GRT!

My dad is the opposite though - he is really generous. Sometimes he even gives extra 5 or 10 to the auto driver, because he feels sorry for him.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I take after my dad and so even now cannot bargain for anything.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Leaving the merchandise behind and making the vendor feel the potential loss of sale - whether its mambazham or mallipoo was the oldest trick of the haggler I learnt from my mom.

You're right. Too bad I cant experience that thrill of those tricks here :(



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