Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Haggling: A rough guide

This morning, well noonish, I was sitting downstairs have my morning coffee at my fave coffee shop. Which I go to because the lady behind the counter is friendly, not because of the coffee, which is terrible and needs to be mixed with lots of Splenda to taste more or less decent. Even T needs Splenda in it and he thinks putting anything sweet in coffee deserves corporal punishment. He's French, bless him.

Anyway. She asked me how my trip to Horizon Plaza had been, and I told her it had been a disaster all round.

"How much they say?" She asked

"$11600HK to build a wardrobe"

"$11600HK???!!!! You must negotiate! You must shout and be aggressive and don't let them say no. You must say: why so expensive?! why so expensive?! and you must point and look angry! You must get the price to half what they say! You people don't negotiate enough!"

Right. Good point.

So off I go to Wan Chai, East Queen St which the forums have also highly recommended. These forums are losing more and more credibility.

I walk into a furniture shop with pretty crappy furniture, so I think this is a perfect place to get a good, cheap wardrobe (The place is called Takad if anyone is interested). I only need it to last 12 months! So as long as it holds out for that time, and costs less than IKEA, I'm taking it. I also come equipped with my newly acquired agro-haggling skills.

I spot the wardrobe style I like. I give the shopgirl, who looks about 14, the dimensions I need and then I ask her the key question:

"How much?"

Vigorous clicking on calculator. Using times and division buttons.


So, here's my moment. The price is quite good actually, but I know that I should negotiate in principle. I tower over her, wave my arms around and shout:

"Why so expensive??!! Why so expensive??!!! Is too expensive!!!!"

Girl closes her eyes and shakes head vehemently,

"No negotiate! No negotiate!!!! Is factory price!!! Factory price!!"

Factory price my arse. I continue to haggle, thinking I'm being rather good at it and that I look just like coffee shop friend, and that she would be quite proud if she saw me,

"If I Chinese you give me half price!!!! Not good price!!"

She then looked over at the manager, who was leaning in the corner working his way through jelly babies, and started to laugh. She actually thought it was hilarious. She said something to him, which I'm sure was something like,


I knew it was over. I couldn't believe how badly my plan bombed. It's a little embarrassing actually. I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the mirrors in the shop, and I looked a right state.

The other 5 places I went to asked for even more, and all clearly have very expensive factories, which I'm sure are reserved for the most discerning customers who require the best quality at the best price. Funny how none of them have a price list. Or a website.

What's even worse, is that I'm going to have to go back to the place-where-I-haggled-hard. As they do, after all, have the best price. This is a cone of shame moment.

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