Shop-o-holic to Wise-o-shopper!

It was a time of life when shopping amused me. Yes, because I was free to spend all that I earned the way I wanted to! A wonderful statement of a beautiful feeling, isn’t?

We eagerly anticipated Saturday mornings. That was the day of the week my mom and I would toil over the streets of Shivaji Nagar and Commercial. I really did mean toil. We w(or)alked hard to make sure none could have bet us to buy it more cheaper than we did – be it anything! We knew perfectly which turn to take to find the best kundan shops. We knew where exactly to find inexpensive gifts. We knew which shop gave us good collection of kurtas and where to get them stitched in one hour.  We even knew which juice shop was good for a hygienic drink!

On the other side, the shop wallas got alarmed just at the sight of this woman and her daughter twisted Yes, yes I meant my mom and I! Poor fellows, they always failed at bargaining with my mom lol


The best bargain I’ve ever made is a R.5 off for something silly for which I actually felt quite elated. I confess I am not just bad but too poor at this art cry My self-esteem has always kicked off the few pennies I could have saved several times. I also confess that many a times I’ve regretted later for not having demanded for at least a little discount.

However, my mom is a queen at this art. I’ve still not figured out why I haven’t learned anything at all from her even if genes did not bring it to me confused Once I choose what I want at a shop, I leave the after-part to her. It’s sometimes embarrassing to be with her at those moments having said how important my self-respect is; but at the end of it, the cheap satisfaction of having saved a few rupees would prove it worthy.

“Well, we think of buying these 4 dress materials. Tell us how much all this comes to, let’s see if we can select a few more.” That’s how she begins when actually we only plan to buy one or at the most two.

“All are of the same price Rs.800. This would come to Rs.3200.”

“Oh my God! This sounds too much.”

“No madam, this is normal rate. You go to any shop in this lane. If you can get the same material for lesser price, come back to me. I bet you cannot.”

“No thamma (brother), we are regular customers to your shop. You cannot give to us at the same price as others. Tell me, how much more can you reduce?”

Never mind even if it’s the first time we visit this place; she always delivers this dialogue everywhere confused

“Tike, 770.”

“What is this, what difference between 770 and 800?”

“Acha quality madam. Touch and see for yourself.”

“Ok, I thought of getting two more. Now I cannot.”

“Chalo, last price madam, 750”

“No, no. Not within our budget.” She rudely drops all that there and signals me to walk out but she stays there. Like a fool I always turn to walk back not understanding it’s a part of her trick. I sometimes even wonder why she has not moved at all rolleyes

“You tell me madam, how much you want to give”, he comes down now.


What!  eek Is it dharma? But my mom always says we should start with almost half the price.

He gets a little irritated now “What madam? How can we sell for so much loss? Well, I will reduce 100 per piece. Give me 2800.”

Now, her demeanor changes for some reason. She becomes friendly “Every week, we come here to your shop only. We have never even stepped into any other shop. We recommended to our neighbor. They too bought 5 pieces from here last week. See how much sale I’ve brought for you…………”

And she goes on ……..for a while with all her imagination because I know such a neighbor doesn’t exist at all. I am afraid this boy is going to get more irritated now with my mom’s non-stop blabbering. It’s already embarrassing to be there. I pray this crazy thing gets over and I can get out of this place soon.

However, to my surprise, something makes him feel good. This is where my mom turns around the situation when she begins talking like a family member, as though so much concerned about his business. He then politely says, “But 350 is not possible madam.”

“It’s getting late for us. Neither for you, nor for me, let’s fix 450. I will take this red and that blue. 900 ok?” She puts it assertively such that the other party has no say. She reaches the bill counter as though it has been agreed.

Again to my surprise, it works. Though reluctantly, he still tries to negotiate for 500. But you know my mom now, she wouldn’t give in.

And the next Saturday arrives. Another set of kurtas. Another bargaining ends up with “It’s getting late for us. Neither for you, nor for me, let’s fix…………” smile

It’s all a memory now!

I don’t do such shopping anymore. As a matter of fact I don’t need such shopping anymore. A few years before, I wanted to own every bag, dress, shoe, hair clip, nail polish that crossed my eyes. Probably with age, contentment or wisdom, I don’t know because of what, my lust and love for such silly stuff has dropped down to zero now. And I feel good about it! Of course, I am not ruling out shopping for necessity. That’s different. I talk about other things – things without which I can very much survive in peace. These days I decide to buy something only after weighing it’s necessity. And I make sure I neither regret later for having bought it nor keep it useless for some reason.

I love this self-transformation from Shop-o-holic to Wise-o-shopper! Not just because it saves me some money but also it liberates me from the desire to possess. They joy of such feeling can only be experienced. Truly, less is  more!
In recent times, I’ve discovered wise shopping includes not only shopping for necessity but also looking for maximum benefits through promo codes, coupons and cash back offers. Though I am poor at the art of bargaining, I should say I am smart when it comes to searching for discounts to buy something online. The best thing I bought online recently was a wall clock of Rs.1300 for just Rs.99. No, not kidding, I really did! cool
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0 Replies to “Shop-o-holic to Wise-o-shopper!”

  1. You know, I have a sister who is the exact same way, a pro at bargaining. Sadly, that’s an art I’ll never be able to master. Great post, I could just see the scene playing out. Your Mom sounds determined, that poor guy had no chance!

  2. I read with bated breath till end, eager to learn the final prize the dress was bought for. Lovely narration!
    And congratulations on your achieving the ‘wise-o-shopper’ state.

  3. I second Nandhu’s comments! I still remember amma got that blue chudi for 1000 Rs. I think it was close to 2000. I mentioned i like that dress but after seeing the price I thought its not worth but amma made sure I got it, though we both were looking at each other while she was bargaining 🙂 You can never shop with anybody else! great memories… miss those days:)

  4. Aha… bargaining is certainly the best and the most productive pastime I’ve ever had, though I’m not always patient when haggling. I tend to impulsively say: OK, I’ll pay this now. And my wife invariably gives me a hard stare before she waves her hands and says, ‘wait. the bargaining isn’t over yet.’

    Arvind Passey

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