I am not a shopper...no way, no how. Well, maybe in Home Depot or Victoria Secret...but that is it. But somehow, when you get to Southeast Asia things start changing...the money is different...you are now using Yuan, Dong, Baht...who ever heard of this money and is it even real. But the US dollar is still supreme. There are items for sale that you are not even interested in and would not even think of buying...but now it is CHEAP or reasonable. All of sudden it is the experience not the product. Imagine buying a Mont Blanc pen for one dollar...how can you pass that up...it is a must buy. Agreed....but is buying twenty of them a must buy....well, the price is so reasonable.
It does not matter that it is not really a Mont Blanc pen; it is a “knock off” version of the Mont Blanc pen. What does that really mean...well the knock off version comes with a 30/30 warranty...you know....the product is guaranteed to work for thirty seconds or thirty feet, whichever occurs first. And, when you buy an expensive item, the seller gives you a printed warranty for the knock off product attesting to its quality and reliability....it is a knock off warranty.
So how does all this work...you are in a market...by the way this market could be a street vendor holding out an item for you to purchase...it all works the same way. The vendor states a price for the item. You laugh at the offer and immediately indicate that the price is outrageous. The vendor asks you to state a price that you will pay. You say you are not really interested and try to leave.
The vendor again asks you to give him a price and you offer something like 25% of the price given to you...the vendor smiles and shakes his head indicating “no”. The vendor makes a new offer. You show no emotion ...tell him you are not interested and proceed to walk away. Again, he asks you for a price, you tell him you really do not want the item anyway, but you offer him a slight increase in price beyond the 25%. Again, the vendor indicates no, but makes an offer closer to your offer.
You tell him you do want the item as it is the wrong color, size, or shape. The vendor disregards everything you say...he does not care. You offer about 30% and the process is starting to become productive. At this point, the vendor will tackle you if you try to leave...he will follow you back to the hotel...he offers a price between 35 and 40%. And, at that point you can split the difference or if you are getting tired you just go ahead and pay the extra twenty-five cents and call it a day.
You have now completed the negotiation, definitely feeling that you have been had because the vendor finally accepted the mutually agreed price and you are now out $2.00 US for a product that will sit in your closet forever once you get it home...that is if it is still working when you get home. There is, however, one consideration that is very important so as not to seriously demean the future of this process. Never, never, ever pay the price that the vendor first offers for the sale.
The shock to his being could be so great that he might never be able to negotiate again. In addition, the vendor will have lost all respect for you and your picture with a line across it will be distributed throughout the region ...you will not be able to shop again. This negotiation process is important for international relations and is incumbent upon you to adhere closely to the procedures set forth.
Given your adherence to this time honored process, you will be able to purchase unlimited quantities of items that you will never use again once you arrive home. Should you decide to give any of these items as presents it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible after you return to ensure that they are still working when they are presented to your family member or friend.
There are some shopping facilities in Southeast Asia that are considered government stores. These stores offer many of the same objects found in other vendor stores, but these items are certified by the government and price negotiations are not readily tolerated. Therefore, you will be encouraged to pay the higher price knowing that the government is ripping you off directly without any middle man involved.