In the United States, prices are clearly stated on a tag so I know right away whether I want to buy or not. I know whether to walk away or not. I know whether I should look at another brand. In the UAE, I not only don’t know the price, but I have no idea what something should cost unless I have seen the same item in the US. Just another one of those things that drives me crazy!
Apparently many cultures love playing the haggling game of “gotcha”. I don’t like this game, because I have no way of knowing whether I was “got” or not. Yesterday, my husband Clay and I had an opportunity to play the game at the Friday market near Al Manamah. My husband did what husbands do and took charge by haggling/negotiating on the price I wanted to pay for our wall coverings. They finalized on a price that was over the budget I had set in my head (but had neglected to tell my husband).
We then began what can only be described as a vaudeville routine where I was actually haggling with my husband AND the seller as they stood there waiting for me to decide on the price. As the day got hotter (110 degrees) and the sweat began streaming down our faces, I stood fast to my price. Finally, the merchant said okay.
Initially I walked away feeling like we won, but after further thought I could imagine the merchants laughing at the Americans who paid too much. Oh well, by the time we leave the UAE, I will be a pro at this game of gotcha.