Friday, June 02, 2006

Bad faith - the fun way to haggle

Don't like haggling? Me neither. So I fake haggle to turn an awkward experience into a memorable one. I shall call this type of haggling the Bad Faith haggle. There are many options - I will describe one of these.

I am currently attempting to buy a PDA, and most storekeeps (sales assistants) assume that they can expect a haggle. I make the implicit explicit. I say, "I suppose at this point I should haggle".

I then pretend to make a cellphone call to my wife and to begin a conversation. In an aside to the sales assistant, I tell him that my wife haggles, even thought I don't because I find the whole process demeaning. I then say to him "my wife says how much discount for cash?" When he replies I convey this information over the phone to my fake wife. I then say, "she says you've got to be joking". I then say to my fake wife: "I think your last comment was unwarranted, as the sales assistant looks offended". This surreal exchange continues for some time - I can get quite inventive, and I have even managed to have a heated argument with my fake wife in the middle of negotiations.

If the item is not too expensive, I like to finish off this way. After beating down the list price by a modest amount through my fake-wife-telephonic-proxy-haggle, I agree to the purchase, and then calculate the difference between the list price and the discounted price. I then tip the sales assistant by the exact amount of the haggle-discount. This amazes the sales assistant and compensates him for his trouble. I like to think that it also gives him an anecdote for dinner table conversations and salesperson conventions which he can use for the rest of his life.