A friend of mine recounted a very interesting anecdote once.

It was about his first ever visit to India and even though it was a professional visit he squeezed some time out to do some shopping.

He went to a local market in the old town and he really liked a t-shirt there. It had Mahatma Gandhi’s picture and a very inspirational line, “Be the change!”.

However, he remembered the advice of his friends about the culture bargaining in some of the markets in India and so he bargained.

Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait. Source: Wikimedia.

The seller wanted equivalent of almost 50 US$ and the friend of mine, after some heavy bargaining ended up paying 450 Indian Rupees, equivalent of 10 US$. He felt victorious.

The next day he went to his local collaborator’s office and he saw an intern wearing the same type of t-shirt with the same picture and the tagline. He asked the boy:

  • “Where did you get it from?”
  • The boy said he got it from the old market in the old town.

My friend was bemused and intrigued. He couldn’t resist his curiosity any further. He asked again:

  • “How much did it cost you?”
  • The boy said 100 Indian Rupees, equivalent to 2US$.
Market. Source: Pixabay.

The sense of bargaining victory that my friend was carrying around so far, disappeared.

In fact, he told me that what troubled him was not a little bit of extra money he had paid, but the fact that he hadn’t really been as successful in the negotiation as he really thought himself to be.

This looks like a simple anecdote. But I would request you to analyze it a bit further. Think of the dissatisfaction of my friend after learning that he actually wasn’t as successful. There are two underlying factors making him unhappy:

  • He had paid more than what he should have.
  • He thought he had negotiated well enough to get a better price. 

There are 2 important aspects for the evaluation of the result of a negotiation: 1. The result itself (How much I have got) 2. The process of negotiation and its impact on us (How I got it)