Today morning Krishnan and I went to this mini-produce “Haat” that has been started inside Ridgewood Estate. It is a vendor who brings fresh vegetables and fruits every alternate day into the condo complex and his rates are cheaper than the “Safal” outlet that is already inside the complex.
While we picked up whatever vegetables and fruits we wanted, there were these two loud ladies who started to haggle on the prices. The most atrocious comment was – day before yesterday you were selling the bananas for 12 bucks and today you want 13.50, it’s unacceptable. !!!!! This lady was wearing jewellery worth atleast a lakh or more, lives or rents a house in Ridgewood which is not exactly the cheapest property around town and was haggling for 1.5 bucks. My mother would do that 35 years back when dad just made enough every month to cover our basic needs and repay small portions of the loans he took for his sisters’ weddings. Mom still slips into her old habits every now and then but she will round off 102 bucks to 100 bucks never 13.50 to 12.
What makes some/many Indian woman haggle with the vegetable vendor ? I cannot understand the logic – is it that they get that momentary sense of power over the poor vendor ? Or just their one chance to exert pressure on someone who is not an equal in status to them and get away with a discount? Will I be shouted at if I stopped one of them mid-tirade and said “look at you and look at this guy… With that 1.5 bucks neither can you build a house nor buy that Cadbury silk chocolate your little brat wants, but for the vendor that is his margin”. I think I will be called names and smirked at 🙂 but I may just try it sometime.
Oh I forgot, she even told the guy “compared to the Safal outlet, your prices were cheaper but now you are getting close to their prices”.. It’s a free country lady, you want to buy, please do, you don’t want to, don’t – here’s a free thought, think about the super market that sells deep frozen vegetables that taste like mud and can’t stay for an hour outside the refrigerator and are priced three times over what this poor man was selling. You should buy from there, buying from these vendors who charge you 1.5 bucks more is beneath your status. Seriously.