Friday, May 7, 2010

It's a deal!

In downtown Dakar, you can pretty much buy anything you want while sitting in the driver's seat of your car. Traffic jams are a vendors dream come true. Hundreds of vendors go from car to car trying to sell the latest shipment of...well...whatever.

For example, today while driving home I could have purchased:

a pigeon
a new windshield wiper
pink sweatpants
boxes of matches
an iron
a winnie the pooh windmill clock
bic pens
and the list goes on and on... The saying is if you see something you want, get it right away or you will never see it again.

Today I saw a mosquito net. It was a big one for a queen size bed and made of thick netting. I quickly pulled to the side of the road and unrolled the passenger window. The secret to getting a good deal is to not act too interested in what you want, and to always offer half of what the ask for.

-'C'est combien?' (How much is it?) I asked.
-'Quinze mil' (About $30)
-'No, merci' I said and put the car in to gear knowing he overpriced the item because I am a toubob.
-'Ok. Ok. Treize mil.' He said. ($26)
-'No merci. Ciao' I said.
I started to slowly move the car. He started to walk along side.
-'Huit mile' I said. (About $16).
-'Onze' He replied. (About $22).
-'No huit' I said.
-'Dix' he said. (About $20).
At this point, I knew I would get the mosquito net for huit so I stayed firm. He however, continued to test my firmness by going down on the price one number at a time.
-'Neuf' He said. (About $18)
-'Huit' I said. I wasn't going to stop at neuf after all this.
-'Huit. C'est bon'

He put the net in my car. I got the net for huit mil ($16) which is pretty good considering he wanted quinze mil. ($30)

Proud of my hard bargaining in French and a successful purchase, I began to pull away. One thing that puzzles me though, is his 'high five' and big smile after the deal was made.

Should I have gone for cinq? ($10)

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