Why slow negotiations pay off

The carpet shop man knew he had me from the second he phoned. You see I’d already bought a small Bakhtiari carpet from him and asked him to his eyes open for any other bigger ones. Sure enough the very next day he called. Apparently he had just “found” one in his warehouse.

That must have been about February or March. I gave it a pretty thorough inspection. I liked it. A lot. And the negotiations began. I won’t bore you with numbers but having expressed my reservations about the asking price, the carpet shop man agreed to keep it to one side.

Every couple of months I would return, never sure whether a deep-pocketed diplomat might have bought it. But there it was tucked away in a corner, and on each visit I would chip away at the asking price.

Finally on Sunday I bought it. While I would like to say that my negotiating skills saved me a pretty penny on the asking price, it turns out that the slow pace of my haggling did much of the work. I managed to save about 10% simply by the startling drop in the value of the Pakistani rupee.

That said, the carpet shop man agreed to my “final price” with startling speed, so I don’t think he was hard done by.

Reminds me of the old economists’ joke. Something about always travelling by bus during hyper-inflation – rather than taxi – because you pay at the start of the journey…


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