Friday, November 14, 2014

Digitally Transforming the Filipino Haggling Tradition

Yesterday, my sister and I went to Divisoria. We were searching for a certain curtain design for their bedroom. As you all know, Divisoria is the place to go when buying anything and everything at an extremely cheap price. The streets were lined with stalls that were filled with hanging Christmas decors, drapes, and--I repeat--anything under the sun.

The Divisoria Experience

After having to deal with the traffic from Recto to Divi, we maneuvered the busy stalls of Puregold to reach Tabora. In Tabora, we checked every single stall, kiosk, and selling space that sold curtains. To our dismay, we didn't find the particular design. Although a little disappointed, we got some great deals on a few yards of U.S. cotton textile. Yes, like any other Filipino, we ended up haggling for the 7 yards of Winnie the Pooh and some other cartoony-designed bed sheet-to-be.

U.S. Cotton sheets cost 85-130 php/yard

Haggling has always been part of our culture. We always here phrases like "Last price?" or "No Discount?" or "I'll buy it by bulk if you give it to me at _____". Honestly, even online sellers from OLX/ Sulit, Ayos Dito, and eBay receive text messages like the ones I mentioned above. It's a typical behavior that's neither good nor bad, depending on the haggler's technique and style.

Selling on eBay used to be as easy as bidding and winning.
Filipino Online Shopping

Nowadays, a lot of us have enjoyed the benefits of buying online. For one, you wouldn't have to deal with the heat, the crowded streets, and the pollution of going to Divi. You also save on precious time and fare because the items get delivered at your doorstep (especially in the Manila area). Some online items are even being sold at a cheaper price than in malls. So, it's really no surprise that a lot of us are now going to websites like Lazada and Zalora.

My first Lazada purchase...
Can't Haggle When it's Sold Online

However, like buying an item from a mall or a superstore, all prices are fixed. There's no haggling allowed, because all prices are final. We don't get the opportunity to talk to the online shop's owner, and it can be a bit frustrating at times. Fortunately for us, we are a resourceful race. Some of us wait for sales or marked-downs; others end up using coupons (usually encoded prior to online checkout).

All it Takes is a Keyphrase

iPrice is a site for the thrifty, budget-conscious Filipino. When all the coupons are at your fingertips, readily available at a click of a button, online shopping definitely gets better. So why bother scouring every single blog/website via Google Search when you can go to a single website for the keywords that can slash a price down to a better bargain?

Is Using a Coupon the Same as Haggling?

It's not. However, these two techniques result to a single outcome. We get what we want at a bargain deal.

Some helpful links:

My Lazada Buying Experience
How to Commute to Divisoria
The EBAY Experience: Pros, Cons and some Tips in Buying and Selling

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