Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank e-commerce websites. Thank you! They have not only totally taken over the businesses of nearby and faraway local grocery stores, but they have also left no stone unturned in making us truly lazy. But that’s not the main reason. For me, one of the major moments of embarrassment in public is faced when I have to bargain. Despite being an Indian, I cannot bargain. But I don’t have to add it in my weakness section of the resume anymore. E-Commerce has literally killed the art and science of Bargaining.
Not only e-commerce, even with all the services offered through apps and websites, the concept of bargaining is now a passé. Just recently, I had a major issue in the kitchen. No, I didn’t try my hand at cooking inspired by Krish Ashok’s Masala Lab. Actually, I had to do a minor household chore of changing the LPG cylinder as the existing one had run its course. Considering the worldwide epidemic of over-eating, untimely snacking, lack of working out due to new fears, and hence, the inability to bend after WFH for a year, I faced certain difficulties in refitting the Gas Regulator over the cylinder. It just refused to fit. I had no other option but to call the Gas Agency for a Repair because I am not the one who takes chances with fire.
The Repair guy arrived after a while and did the work within seconds. I asked him how much would be the charge for a job that didn’t involve any work. He put the onus on me. “Anything you would like Sir”. Such questions make me act like a turtle on its back. Since he had come to my house, as a courtesy I gave him 100 Rupees. He looked at me as if I had insulted him somehow. He then told excuses that he had come from a far distance so 100 won’t do. I had to give him 100 more because I couldn’t bargain. Again, it is not about money. It is about the skill of convincing others to charge less or demand more for a service or a product. This wouldn’t have happened if there was a service of that kind available through some app, say Urban Company.
Bargaining is a skill Indians take pride in. Somehow, we (most of us, except people like me) can make one feel that anything can be brought for a cheaper or a higher price. I mostly end up at the receiving end just because I trust the price offered by the seller. I also expect it to happen the other way around when I am offering something at a price, it should be bought at that price. That’s not how it works though.
Thankfully, now you can buy most products or services online. That price cannot be argued with. Even if they charge exorbitantly and fluctuate the price by the hour, you have to accept it. But you are also free to choose something else. You cannot simply bargain. There are still some things we cannot buy online yet. But we will soon have apps for even those things. I am counting on you 2021 to end the ordeal of bargaining, once and for all.