September 05, 2006
The Bargaining Process
Bargaining, which is an integral part of life in any third world country, equated to conflict for my traveling companion Ray, who although has traveled extensively in the U.S. (every state by foot, bike and road) and in Europe, was new to developing country life.
I learned to haggle long before I reached my teens, so in environments like third world markets, shops and hotels, bargaining is a natural and integral process for me, as much so as it is for my male cousins who control their TV remotes on auto-pilot.
We had several interesting conversations about the ‘newness of it’ – for him – and the impact that this ritual has for people on both sides, over time. The result of this dialogue brought me back in time to several occasions where I hooked up with a new traveler for a day or two, during which I would observe their negotiating skills, adopt a few tricks and leave others.
I also thought about who some of these people I corresponded with for years after our first encounter, had become in their prospective first world countries today. How many who are stuck in patterns in their professional lives, played out the same ones in the beginning of their lives so many years ago.
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