It’s not only Nigerians who can claim this, but we immigrants love to get a bargain. it’s not our fault though: we all know you can bargain anything in Naija (or you could when I was last there). And in fact, playing the bargaining game is part of the fun of shopping, especially in the market.
Parents or older folks are more adamant about bargaining, no matter where they are, it seems. For example, I was at the dollar store one day (everything in this store is one dollar or lower; it was a correct dollar store sha) and I saw a man asking the cashier if he could get a better deal on his purchases since he was buying so many things. Too bad he didn’t look around and see the rest of us with our full shopping carts, scooping up these one dollar bargains like the end of the world was near.
While some of us might be more timid about asking for a discount, or trying to get a bargain, and the rest of us might just be too lazy to try, our parents are usually less shy. I can understand trying to bargain when you’re dealing with somebody who is selling something on their own, and not as part of a larger corporation. But when you’re trying to buy something at a store that has their prices clearly posted around the place and in their flyers, my philosophy is you either buy it, wait for it to go on sale, or steal it (joke). My mom sha, she’ll sometimes try to see if she can get a deal:
Sign beside sweater says it costs $50
My mom: Hello, how much is this sweater?
Store clerk: Oh, it’s $50 ma’am
My mom: Hmmm, that is expensive.
Store clerk: *uncertain giggle*
My sister or I: Moooooom!
My mom: Is it on sale?
Store clerk: Sorry, it’s still regular price.
My mom: Oh, that’s a shame. It’s really nice.
Store clerk: *uncertain giggle*
My sister or I: Moooom! It’s not on sale. You know that. Can we leave now? Ugh!
I don’t think my mom has paid full price for many things in her life.
My dad is the same, but his technique is more of the “we’re brothers now” tactic. So, when he hired someone to do some odd maintenance around the house, for example, and they are discussing the cost, he slapped the guy on the back in a friendly manner and said “Oh, come now, you’ll accept $X right?” (where X is significantly less than what they are charging). He often ends up getting some sort of bargain sha, not as low as he suggests, of course, but that’s how bargaining works. My parents’ motto when it comes to negotiating and bargaining is It’s always worth a try!
Me, I like to wait for those sales where things are discounted by 50% or more. Anything else just feels like I’m paying too much. I love reading flyers on the weekend and seeing what random item I can get on sale. It doesn’t even matter whether I need the item or not: if it’s on sale by 75% or more, I will likely buy it.
My parents and I sometimes fight because although I love bargains, I do not try to bargain with the seller, even with big ticket items. Their problem with this is that buying big ticket items like electronics or cars or houses are great opportunities to bargain, even in Oyinboland. It is the one time where you can ask if they’ll throw in a trunk organizer with the car you’re purchasing and they won’t look at you and wonder where you are from. When you are buying a computer, that’s the time to ask if they can give you the printer or laptop bag for free. But me, I just wait for the camera or television or car to be at an unbelievable price before buying it. I’m still waiting sha.
What have you learned about bargaining from your parents or family? Are you a bargain shopper?