Dare to Ask: Are dealing, haggling the Indian way?
By Phillip Milano
Question, first offer
Why are people from India always trying to return things to get a better
deal, reuse their coupons or use coupons fraudulently?
Tatyanna, white, Illinois
Question, final offer
Why do people from India haggle so much? Is there advice on how to deal with
these people in a better way?
Doug, Omaha, Neb.
India is poor, and people have always been taught to save as much as they
Pratichi, 18, Indian female, Pune, India
Bartering not only hurts the business, it hurts employees [and] the CEO ...
Sam, Lewisville, Texas
In India, if you bargain, you might get a discount. Most shops here are small
operations. Keep calm and tell them it is a fixed price.
Jatin, 32, Indian male, Delhi, India
I am a manager in customer service. ... I believe it's cultural, but I can't
stand them, anyway, so I send subordinates to deal with them.
R., 41, white, California
Who wrote this is an ignorant jack---. If you haven't traveled the world to
see how others live, it's your problem.
Gunjan Bagla of India trade consultant Amritt Ventures (www.theindia
expert.com) gave us the deal on all this after much dickering and the promise of
a Windows 7 keygen (OK, that last part was just wrong. Windows 7 isn't even out
Seriously, though, dudes in Asia - from Japan to the Mideast and in between -
have built relationships based on negotiating for eons, said Bagla, author of
"Doing Business in 21st-Century India." Europeans and Americans are the ones
doing it a more direct, new way.
"Culturally, it's part of the conversation, and is not considered rude. In
fact, a quick transaction is thought cold."
The commerce heritage of India, for example, isn't based on mass-market
retail stores but on interacting with small shop owners, he said. That means
conversing about value and price.
"There is always that tendency to want to figure out how one can stretch a
Some academics argue that decades of British rule led to impoverishment in
India, hence individuals' need to seek value at all turns. And research by Angus
Maddison, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Groningen in The
Netherlands, shows India's share of world GDP dropped from 24 percent in 1700 to
less than 3 percent by the time it gained its independence in 1947.
Regarding coupon misuse, some Indians new to the States may see them as a
proxy for the dialogue they're used to having with clerks, Bagla said. But folks
who state that mostly Indians abuse them may be seeing what they want to see.
"Aberrant behavior ... can get noticed more if it's from someone different
Bottom line: Indians generally seek deals - at all levels, he said. Hard to
argue that one, when you consider that in 2006, rather than build a ship, the
Indian Navy bought the 35-year-old USS Trenton from the United States for a song
-- $48.4 million.
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