This is the kind of bargaining I’m used to. You walked up to the seller, you offered your rate and s/he offered his/hers. You went down and down until s/he could tolerate you no further and then you bought. I have found out a new version. I had walked into the shopping complex at Wuse Zone 3 a few days ago, desperate to buy a Dell powerpack. One I was using had blown up in Ilorin and I really really had to send an email. I entered the first shop and the sales person there was very welcoming. I told her what I wanted, she confirmed the voltage and went to look for it.

“How much is it,” I asked.
“Bring 5,000 naira,” she replied.

I’d learnt to be wary of offers that begin with “bring…” so I said, “I’ll pay 3,000.”

Actually, I really wanted to pay 2,500 because I didn’t have much to start with, and I couldn’t remember just how much I bought it the last time.

We went back and forth for a while, and after a while, I noticed that she was beginning to like my “3,000” idea so I went down again. “Actually, all I have is 2,500.”

She flared up.

Apparently, the way to bargain is to choose the lowest common denominator and bargain up to meet the seller. “Why did you say 3,000 when you knew that all you had was 2,500?” She demanded angrily and turned me into the bad guy. I wasn’t ready to be bullied into a hasty purchase anyway, so I walked to the next shop where I got it for 2,700. I had started my bid from 2,000.

Unfortunately, as soon as the purchase was complete, I was kicked out of the shop for staying longer than necessary “testing” the equipment.” All I wanted to do was to send that pressing email. And even though the first shop had a more welcoming attitude, it was too late to return there to ask for a favour. A teachable moment.

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