Friday, March 1, 2013

Cairene Street Negotiations for a Hair Trimmer

So, I've been thinking about buying one of these trimmers for a while now; I feel like I've been spending too much money on going to the barber. Solution: a 30 LE ($5 USD) trimmer. I saw a street vendor selling some on a sidewalk in Dokki Square, and I was in a good mood, so I thought I'd begin negotiations... 

He starts at 55 LE. 
I look at it, inspect it. "Naw, that's too much, give me a better price!" (without naming a price (important)).
"Okay, 50."
I inspect it some more. Ask a few questions, and ask him to come down more. 
"Okay, 45. But in a store, you would pay 80 for the same thing" (I think to myself: "sure, but in a store, I wouldn't be paying rent, electricity, or any other expenditure... you're working on the sidewalk dude...).
I look at it some more, and tell him: "Okay, I'm going to go sit at a coffee shop and think about it a little bit more, and maybe I'll come back later. But before I go, is 45 your best price?"
"Okay, 40, but that's it."

So, I go hang out at the coffee shop a bit, and ask Amr –my main coffee shop man– what I should pay. I tell him about the negotiations that had gone down thus far. 
He tells me to go back and ask for 25 LE. I was a little surprised by this because that seemed quite low and a friend of mine had paid 55 for a similar trimmer a few weeks before, but he told me to go for it, and that's how Egyptians would negotiate. He also told me the word "حور" (hawar) which means "just talking a lot without worrying about pronunciation or tashkeel and basically just talking to people a lot to develop a good 'current' or 'contact' or 'relationship' with them." that always works (and reminds me of a different post I'll write about later related to the lack of social awkwardness in Egyptian society).

Anyway, I went back to the vendor, and offered him 25. (notice, how I only started naming a price far into the negotiation process). And it worked! I ended up getting it for 30 LE! (I would have been content paying 35). 
Gotta love getting a price down by almost half! Thanks Amr. 
And shout out to China for making such cheap shit (I don't expect it to last more than one year).

Trimmer. Notice the photo of the car

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