It irks me that when shopping in Asia markets (i.e., markets within Asia), you have to bargain a heck of a lot in order to not be ripped off. Whenever I ask the price of something, I have to be ready to do some mental math to come up with an offering price. Maybe it is just unbelievable to my Canadian sensibilities that someone would be willing to sell something below 50% of the “sale” price (although at least my Chinese sensibilities and dealings with Rogers et al realize that there can be some unbelievable margins in industries).

It is fascinating though, that this game is built into shopping in certain cultures. While I know it happens in Chinese culture, I somewhat associated my knowledge with my background. Although it is not surprising that this also occurs in societies where there is a large gap between rich and poor (especially if the rich are transient). Here are some observations of bargaining from other countries:

* Ethiopia: 0.7 with 2 rounds
* Argentina: no less than 0.9 and 1 round.
* Canada: 1 and 0
* Uganda: 0.5 and 4 rounds
* Liberia: 0.1 and 8 rounds
* Morocco: 0.001 and upwards of 754 rounds (including mint tea).

Based on my trip to China in 2006, where I blogged that you had to start at 20% of the price for clothing; for certain things in China it looks like 0.2 with 2 rounds.

I wonder if growing gap between the rich and poor in the USA will bring more bargaining into American culture (and are cancellations/retentions an example of bargaining?)