We Bengalis are fond of bargains. We feel insulted to shop at any store which do not allow bargaining. We are paranoid that the store owners and businesses are always on the lookout for ways to rip us off. And we would like to be on top of them. “Start your negotiation at one third the asking price”, advised our elders who claim to be the greatest negotiators of all time, “and be prepared to walk away, but slowly. The shopkeeper is going to call you back with a better offer!”
You need to be thick skinned too. Some of the savvy sales people will attack your pride and self confidence without any mercy. They will make you feel like a lowlife for having the audacity to make such an outrageous offer. Some, will keep on playing with you your own game and finally both of you will agree on a deal which will appear like a big win for you and a big loss for the sales person. He will whine and cry and ask you for the last two bits that you can spare, like “Dada, aar duto taka diye din; bounir somoy!”, and you will gracefully oblige. After all you are the big winner! You will walk away with your winning smile, and the sales person will start dealing with his next customer, hiding his own laughter. Many of us, the hard bargainers, snobbishly avoid those stores who conspicuously display the “Fixed Price” sign. What is the fun in shopping if we can’t get to play the bargaining game?