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Hello, I’m Toni Love, and I live in an unbelievable chaotic space know as my life. I’m first generation,born in the UK, of West African descent. I was married, became a mum, and divorced all before I was 25, and have spent the last 10 years keeping it all together. In my former life I was a copy writer for one of the big 5 firms (or 4 I think it is now). Anyway, after a career break to raise my son, on my return I found I was all sloganed out! I moved into the corporate world then, and started my own consultancy. I have a 9 year old son, Barry, who recently went off to boarding school abroad, and a cat called Snowy who prefers the company of my neighbour's to mine, thus making me “petless” and child free. It was only then I took stock and realised the nothingness of it all; a sort of mini life crisis. I have decided to shake things up a bit. I miss writing, so that’s why I blog, I need new direction, new goals and new objectives. I’m thinking a change in career, a new pastime, relocation and a nice gentleman friend to ice the cake! (Why not put it out there! ;o) Thank you for joining me on this journey. I welcome comments, suggestions or any ideas on postings! Enjoy the ride! 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Guide Beginners Bartering!

Cusco

The journey to Cusco was horrendous. We spent the best part of the day traveling only to cover a few hundred miles, the reason being we had to fly back to Lima first (inward groan), go out through customs only to check back in and go through security again, and fly back out to Cusco. I had travelled prepared, at least, and stuffed myself silly at breakfast. As usual I had my backpack full of treats, but so far the sniffer dogs had no interest in them. I wasn’t sure whether to be offended or not.

We finally arrived tired and dishevelled, and as soon as my foot set foot on the ground I was breathless. This had nothing to do with my surroundings. I could only just about breath! If I had known that it was in this state I would remain for the next week, I would have seriously reconsidered!

Those who can teach!
We got to the airport and it was marginal bigger than our previous stop; there were no transfers to our new hotel so we were left to fend for ourselves. Being pre-warned of the extortionate prices the taxi drivers would charge, I was ready for some good old-fashioned haggling. In my country of origin haggling is a national sport, something to be relished, and you are judged by your ability to negotiate the best price possible. In my country of birth, however, most Brits just don’t have the stomach for it. Being brought up on the best of both I was ready and willing; after all I had grown up watching my aunts do it, even in London! I'll never forget the day I offered to take my aunt, who was on holiday shopping for some electrical goods, and watched, at first in horror and embarrassment, which soon turned into pure admiration, as she had managed to knock 10% off the displayed price and got free delivery! The guy even through in an extended warranty. I asked her how she had the guts to do such a thing and she giggled and said, “Bartering in England is so sweet because it’s not the done thing! You would be surprised to know that the shop assistants are more uncomfortable than you were.” She was right. I asked her what if he had said no? And she replied, “A 'no' doesn’t kill you, but knowing you paid more for something you could have paid less for could drive you insane. If you are too scared to hear a 'no' you will never hear a 'yes'!”

Tried and Tested
This was certainly a turning point in my life of a magnitude one can never explain! From then on it became my mantra: “If you fear the 'no' you will never get a 'yes'!”I have bargained my way through many a situation, including dodgy seats at concerts/theatres/London 2012, flight upgrades, VIP lounges/parties/parking, etc. During the 2012 Olympics I got tickets for the rowing only to find that the tickets I had were standing only, and so far away from the finish line I would have been better of in the pub! Refusing to settle for this I went into a charm offensive and wrangled front row boat house seats, and was rewarded for my efforts by seeing Team GM win its first gold medal in the women’s skulls double! Too many to list, my friends call me a Jammy Dodger (lucky), some would even call me brazened; they can call it what they want, but they are more than happy to reap the benefits!

Benchmarking
The first thing to do when haggling for a taxi in a foreign country is to figure out what the standard official fair is. You can do this by going to the chauffeur services on air side or land side and making enquires. Once you know what this fare is you have a benchmark in your mind. Outside taxies will try and charge 40% more; your objective should be half of what they quote you.

The Rules of Engagement!
The vendor will go in high for two reasons: 1. if there is someone willing to pay the price they are laughing all the way to the bank and will be trading the war stories for weeks, and 2. it makes allowances for any haggling. As a Ghanaian I will always go in low as it makes the vendor know you are not messing around, and it also gives you wiggle room for the vendor to feel they have one over you!

Showtime!
So, he said 50 sols (5 more than the official cars) and I offered him 15. He balked and came back with 45, out of principal I remained at 15. I must say that this move is not very “sportmanly” and would not recommend it to those new to this sport. Even when it comes to bartering there are rules of etiquette – after all we are in negotiation, and refusing to budge shows you are not prepared to negotiate. I did it to let him know I knew his first price was too outrageous! It paid off and he dropped down to 35; I said 20, he said 25, and I accepted. Not because I felt it was a good price, nor because I had lost my nerve; it was purely because I was out of breath! Even speaking was an issue, and so I knew right away that I had lost this battle by the grin on the taxi driver's face. I soon realised why: the actual cost was 12 sols, but in the scheme of things it was nothing. After all, it was only pennies involved, but like I said it’s not the money involved, its purely a sport!


 

 

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