Last weekend Cassandra and I spent a few hours at the “Sunday Car Bazaar” on Ngong Road—a large, dirt parking lot where there are tons of used cars for sale. We had been thinking about buying a car to putt around town with and, seeing as we know next to nothing about cars, we figured this would be a great opportunity to see what was out there. It was an eye-opening experience!
Let me attempt to summarize it with three words and one picture:
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…