Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Voluntarily Ripped Off

Its well known in Asia that if you're not shopping in a mall, you have to bargain for everything you buy. Having grown up with mostly mall type shopping, I'm hopeless at it. Occasionally, I'll make an attempt but most of the time, I just pay the price or get somebody else to do the bargaining.

Today, I've been thinking about the shopping that I do here in Indonesia. I'm automatically charged a higher price because people immediately know that I'm not local. I did start out with several attempts at bargaining but then I realized that the difference was a meaningless amount to me (especially after conversion) but may have meant a meal for the vendor. Yes, I do hate the feeling of being ripped off but if you think of it from the vendors point of view, it is an appropriate pricing decision. All businesses have different pricing models for different markets.

I don't mean this to sound condescending or patronizing but is it still considered charity if I allow myself to be ripped off? I had a post about a week ago on helping out at an orphanage but really, all I need to do is look at the people I'm surrounded by everyday and I could 'help'.

This is straying from today's subject of charity rip off but we decided to donate rice to the orphanage for now. And, I'm going to kill two birds with one stone by paying Yudi (my driver) the price that I would have been charged, and then asking him to go get the best price he can for himself and he keeps the difference. The problem now is convincing him to do it because he insists that if its for charity, the rice has to be the same price as the rice I eat. I keep telling him that it is seeing that I paid him that amount but.......we'll see.


dawn224 said...

I don't think it's condescending to not try to haggle. I'm curious if the vendor would appreciate the effort though - even if it's halfhearted like the price is 300 and you say I'll give you 290 and they say 295 and you say SOLD!

(I'm clueless though)

Kellan said...

I think this is hard. I don't like that you are automatically expected to pay more - I think you should still haggle some - just because it isn't right for anyone to assume - you know. This is a hard one. See ya.

Bilbo said...

I'm terrible at haggling, but Agnes is very good at it...I always default to her if we have to do any serious bargaining. The last time I did any haggling was at flea markets in Germany many years ago. I know I got ripped off, but since it was usually for fairly innocuous things, I figured it was all right.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Haggling doesn't go well here. The shops will mostly quote opolicy rules.

John said...

I think of haggling as a sport. So do most vendors. Because they know their cost, you can be sure that they are not going to get ripped off.

As far as charity goes, the first year that we vacationed in Mexico, I was appalled by the living conditions and wages that the local lived in and worked for. At one particular shop we got a great deal on a day trip and on a couple of other items. I then paid way more than I should have for a poncho.

I think that it's good to recognize the needs of others and to help them without making them feel like they are taking a handout.

I think that it's this gentle and generous spirit of yours that makes me feel that I'd really like you!

Amanda said...

Looks like lots of other people are like me and need some haggling classes :)

John, thanks for the compliment:) You've worded it much better than me about helping people without making them feel like they are taking a handout.