Kenya

New Haggling Tactic

It’s well established that haggling is ridiculous. There’s nothing new on that front (and it still doesn’t make sense to me), but I am proud to announce that I’ve learned a new tactic: ask them for their “last price” RIGHT AFTER you ask them how much the thing costs.

Bei ya mwisho?” (last price) has revolutionized the way I understand haggling. If the dude says the wooden table costs 3,000 Kenyan shillings (~ 40 US dollars), this tactic gets it immediately down to 2,500. It seems nonsensical but it works. I watched a buddy employ this technique over and over again when we were shopping the other day. We had gone to the Nairobi Ikea (read: dudes in tin shacks on the side of Ngong road making furniture with their hands) in search of a desk for my office (read: living room). In the end, we knocked off enough money on the table that I decided to throw in a nightstand too!

Funny story: this is the same place I bought my bed frame and my coffee table. After successive visits I now realize I over paid on the coffee table, which explains why he was so excited when I gave him 200 shillings for delivering it. But then again, hiring a pickup truck for delivery costs at least 1,000 shillings, and the coffee table jamaa (dude) actually rode it like five kilometers on his bicycle…

3 Comments

  1. Thaths

    I’ve developed a similar bargaining technique. After the seller first names his price, I ask if he has a discount. It doesn’t matter what the discount is for. Just ask for one. Then have a couple of back and forths of bargaining followed by your ultimatum of asking for “best price”. The seller at this points knocks off a few shillingi and you have a deal.

    1. Alan Author

      That sounds good, but it’s the “couple of back and forths” which are the hard part! I will sometimes ask if “transport ni bure” (free)… hehe.

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