Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bargaining, Israeli Style

I know, the whole world isn't a shuk (open air marketplace). But it sure seems like it!

Practically all Israelis bargain, and love doing it. Whether it's shopping for basic food items at an actual shuk- like Machane Yehuda, or doing some shopping at a small store, you can probably always bargain down the price.

Big grocery stores like Yesh, or Bar Kol, are immune to my nefarious bargaining ways. After all, when they list their chicken on sale for 29.90 NIS, I can't very well go up to them and ask to have it for cheaper if I buy more. However, with my local butcher, I totally can. He even has a sign up right now for cases of chicken for cheaper if you buy by bulk. And, what if I walked in- after discussing with 5 neighbors of course- and then asked to buy 5 cases- would he give it to me for cheaper? Maybe. Who knows?

My whole block seems to believe in this wholesale theory. There are families who sell eggs, for about at least 5 NIS cheaper than the local grocery store. The same goes for flour, oil, sugar, and other household items. Another neighbor does a gigantic meat order, of which I proudly participate every month.

If I head down to my favorite baby supply shop- he'll give me bargains right on the spot. All prices are negotiable, it seems, if they are just taped on the item with a sticker. After all, he could just rewrite the sticker, couldn't he?

I never thought I would do something like that. It's like walking in the US into a store and asking to have the listed item for less. I would never be brave enough to do that- except maybe in a Jewishly owned store. (Does that say that all Jews are willing to bargain, even if they aren't from Israel?)

As the NY Times stated, most shoppers were looking for bargains this past holiday season. So maybe it's not a Jewish thing after all? Although, I have to admit, I love showing off a great deal.
It's like beating the odds, getting my pack of disposable diapers for 48 NIS, instead of 69. I just HAVE to talk about it.

So is it Jewish to bargain? Israeli? Or something in between?


Mystery Woman said...

Everyone loves a bargain, but that's not the same as bargaining.
The only time I ever see actual bargaining going on is in Israel...and as much as I'd like to try it sometimes..I just can't.
I guess it's just an Israeli thing.

Anonymous said...

Recently there were articles in the USA encouraging people to bargain. But Americans are more squeamish about seeming cheap, I think. I did bargain $20 off my laptop repair bill, though.

Something Different said...

I have bargained- successfully- in Macy's, Staples, and some other big stores. :-D

Anonymous said...

Well, there's a girl who isn't afraid of looking cheap. How'd you do it in Macys?

Something Different said...

I informed the saleslady that I would love to buy the suit, but unfortunately, I am unwilling to pay the price it was marked. She motioned to me to follow her to another register, away from the other shoppers, and mysteriously managed to procure a 20% off coupon. This was after she nicely informed me that there were no current coupons. I told you to come shopping with me.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

YESH: 3 packs of Pampers for 99 NIS!

Gotta look out for the sales...

nmf #7 said...

Mystery Woman- I know- I kinda jumbled the 2 together in this post. But either way- hunting for bargains, or creating them yourself seems to be an Israeli thing.

B4S- I know! But imagine if all the Americans behaved like Israelis- would they save more money, or would the stores just ignore them?

SD- Well then you really are 'something different'. Kudos!
And, I'm impressed that you managed to get Macys to lower their prices. Could you come with me next time I'm in the States?

Jameel- Yeah, but I'm a Huggies gal. Pampers leak too much with my little one. I thought 48 was pretty good for Huggies! Usually I can find them only 2 for 99. Yesh also had a sale- 129 for a giant box of Pampers, although I'm not sure how many there were- at one point.

Something Different said...

Lol, Macy's is the easiest place to get sales. I am currently wearing a sweater I got at macy's. Reduced from $38 to $8.44. :-D