Friday, June 9

Gujarati Trade

Yes, I know I've said before how I hate stereotypes. However what happened yesterday evening was so marked I thought I'd share it, even if there's a danger of being called a hypocrite.

Anyway, since buying my DS.Lite I've had my previous silver DS in the Loot, the UK-wide classifieds paper. The console itself was only six months old, so I wasn't going to settle for a rock bottom price. On the other hand, the new Lite is to be released here on the 23rd of this month, so I needed to get rid of the old version as soon as possible before its value plummeted.

Those that have seen how I treat my toys will know that it was in perfect condition, boxed and everything. Brand new DSs still sell for £90, so I thought I'd try my luck and put mine up for £80 with a game, allowing myself up to ten quid to discount at the time of selling. Yes, it was a risky price, but I had gotten calls already (albeit no sales) so I stuck to it.

Last night Ali Bhai called. He wanted to come see the unit, but avoided setting a price before hanging up - he found out that I was Pakistani, so presumably he wanted to use ethnicity to barter down. Big mistake, since someone willing to drive to the seller's house has already shown his intent of buying. And it's not like the whole "come on, we're brothers!" thing was going to work on me - I'm cold like that. This guy was an amateur, I thought and at that point I knew I'd get at least £75.

He came over. Him and his three kids, that is and after seeing them in person, I suddenly got scared. This family was obviously Gujarati. I started sweating; trading with a Gujji? The £75 seemed less likely now. Coming in numbers was just the first of the many tricks to be played.

After his son had tested the console and saw that it was working, we got down to business:

Them: We'll give you 65.
Me: Uh, no. The ad said 80. I don't mess around like other advertisers. That's the price I want. It's pretty much set.
Them: Hmm. We checked Argos before we came. You can get brand new ones for 90. One Year Guarantee!
Me: I checked Loot before I set the ad. Mine is the cheapest, and probably in the best condition. If you want brand new, I suggest you go to Argos tomorrow and get one for 90. It's a good price.
Them: We'll give you 70.
Me: Best I can do is 75. Otherwise I don't want to waste your time. Here, let me put this away...

At that point a look of realisation appeared on my adversary's face. See, our family isn't typically Gujarati, and my friend here had assumed I was something else. And now, hitting him like a bombshell, the realisation came to him that I was as tight as he was. I had regained some control. Even Ali pulling out the cash didn't faze me. He was good, but I had the same genes as he did.

So there we were bouncing our offers against each other. Either of us weren't budging and this wasn't about the money anymore. I seemed to be in the stronger position: they had come to me and would not leave empty handed and the son was busy falling in love with Sonic ("this is a wicked game, man!"). However I couldn't risk not selling the DS, not when I was so close. I was about to break.

Suddenly Ali reached into his pocket again. "Hooray", I thought, "I win! Go me!". I could only laugh when he pulled out his loose change and offered me three gold nuggets, making a total offer of £73. Ali was much smarter than I was - he managed to figure out a way for both of us to retain our Gujji pride. I cheerfully accepted suddenly realising how grateful I was for his wisdom. My ego could absorb the two quid hit, and all parties went away happy, each thinking that they hadn't crumbled.

Anyway, yeh: Gujaratis are well tight, innit?