The Systembaaj’s guide to Bargain Hunting : Dhaka Style
Bangladesh is without any doubt the garments capital of the world. Every brand you will find at all the world wide downtown stores are made here. Exact same stuff with some 19/ 20. 19/20 that you cannot detect.
Bargaining is not as easy as it sounds. It is a secret art withheld in secret societies that do not give out the secret. It has been practiced since the first bangla word was spoken. Access to these societies are and remain a very grueling task. Fake societies also exist of people who claim they can bargain but cannot. Hence one can comprehend how difficult it is to learn this scared Bangladeshi art called damadami or bargaining.
But fear not, having being the offspring of members of such elite bargaining societies, and having recently renewed my membership along with increasing my rank, I shall expose you to some scared bargaining secrets.
1) Stop acting like a kid.
Easier said than done. The first step is to act disinterested and accept the fact that u may more often then not, not be able to buy that particular item with that specific design you want within your budget. This is mainly because shopkeepers usually price items according to the interest they see you giving an item. If you act disinterested the shopkeeper decreases the price as he notices you may not buy the item, but he definitely wants to sell it. Always say about 50 – 60 percent of the price the shopkeep asks for. If he says Tk 3000 say Tk 1200. A very tried and tested technique is to say your final price and walk away from the store. More often than not, the shopkeeper will beg you to re-enter his store and offer you a lower price than he initially said was his final price.
2) Take a look around.
Always check out the shopkeeper’s competition i.e. the other surrounding stores. This is like all other steps very important. Checking out the other stores gives u an idea about the proper price and the price fluctuation among the stores. Its also gives you an idea of the collection of each shop. The price of an item is very dependent on the fact of how common it is. One of the most effective bargain lines is tell one shopkeeper that another one has offered you the same item for less.
3)Keep your power.
Remember that you are the customer and he the mere shopkeeper. Your the one who buys and he the one who sells. That alone makes you more powerful. So do not give you power away. Be respectful, but don’t bow down and treat him like a king. If you treat anyone like a king, all he will treat you will be as a mere peasant. Don’t be needy. If he pays no attention to you because of other customers, walk into another shop. You hold the power.
4)Trial & Error.
Bargaining is not a do or die situation. Hell, shopping isn’t either. Fish around and guess around prices. Sometimes you may say too much or too less. But don’t let that bother you. Making mistakes is the only way to learn and in bargaining it is no different. There are no fixed prices. Always remember that. Yesterdays price may as well be history today. So whenever you are shopping for occasions such as Eid or birthday, do shop a few days earlier so that you can get your price right.
You might get fooled a few times but not forever. Keep at it,remember the steps and you just might be given an invitation to the bargaining elite.