Street-shopping is about two things-
1). Bargaining and
2). Are you deaf? Didn’t I just say BARGAINING?
Why do we street shop?
To buy that jumpsuit for some hundred bucks, is it?
Nah! It is the sheer joy of going through loads of shitty clothes to find that one piece and then fighting tooth and nail for it, defeating the vendor with your constant haggling and then walking away with your precious find like a boss.
Actually, let me break down this cheap thrill for you…
First things first, never step down rich from your cab.
The minute you enter your shopping arena…
A girl must look broke.
You are a girl on a budget; non-spendthrift and forget acting frugal; instead, pretend that your dad is a Sindhi and your mum is a Marwari. Put on that show and walk through the market keeping that childlike excitement away from your face. Look distressed if you have to but never ecstatic.
But what-so-ever, ALWAYS look like a potential- buyer giving way for the vendor to fall in the bargaining pit.
Once he starts taking interest in his to-be-customer, the battle begins.
Spot the thing of your interest, check it thoroughly with least interest. Check the ones you don’t like with visible interest. Keep your targeted dress unattended and ask its price among the other three things that you don’t intend to buy.
Whatever his quotation is, the first one has to be laughed off. Then in that flow, let your stern voice ask him for final price. He will resist. So now kill it with these three weapons
Greed- Remind him how you’ve been buying from him ever since you’ve moved to the city.
Also once in a while genuinely persuade your friend to have something for her as well from the same vendor! More the quantity, merrier the bargain!
Sympathy- Go P-l-e-a-sssssss-e with a grin and in tune! Doesn’t work? Try this-
Look disappointed in HIM. Make him feel guilty for a “regular customer” who has come a long way just so that his items would sell. Look on innocently while your silence screws his conscience!
Warning- This is the LAST resort. Tell him that it is a common thing over the market and you can get it from somebody who is reasonable. No effect?
This is where you use your ultimate weapon.
Squint at the dress for the last time. Bid it goodbye.
Now turn your heels nonchalantly, and…
Keep walking… and wait for those magical words.9 out of ten times, the vendor in neon tee will call out for you!
The one time it doesn’t work is when he anticipates your game.
- The bargain hours are crucial. They don’t want to lose a customer just after they have opened for the day; while when they are closing down they want to clear the stock! So shop in desperate hours. Also, never try to bargain when it’s crowded. They won’t keep other buyers waiting to haggle with you.
- Befriend the shopkeeper; smile and interact- attack his morals- he can’t overcharge somebody who has been so polite and friendly to him!
- Apart from that, you can always try finding faults with the colour, fabric, fit- anything! Make him feel responsible for your trouble! Manipulate him into selling it to you.
- SHOW him the MONEY. Hand it over to him. The feel of the crispy notes in his hand is bait he can’t avoid!
If You are a Tourist
Now apart from proper tourists’ place where it is obvious, avoid that tag.
Act like you KNOW the market. If you can pick up the local accent and their localised Hindi- KUDOS! Although beware against blatant pretension, that can turn the tables!
Otherwise don’t act touristy. Never “Bhaiya, hum yahin ke hai. Tourist samjha hai kya?!” That will make it obvious. Keep it natural. Don’t get easily fascinated. Act as if this is a regular thing for you.
P.S. – Bargain so that you don’t get overcharged and because it’s therapeutic (Guilty, as charged). Don’t make it your mission to screw the vendors with foul bargaining just for the heck of it.