Thursday, March 13, 2008


As two coeds were crossing at the corner where it was prohibited to do so, two others were busily trying to hail a tricycle or pedicab to take them to their destination. What was interesting about this latter pair was what they proved; that is, no one has to subscribe to common beliefs. In this case, succumbing to the law of supply in demand.

You see, during the transport strike in Manila last Tuesday when I took these photographs, many tricycle and pedicab operators jacked up their usual fees. They figured that many folks would rather pay the extra cost than be left stranded out in the streets.

These two coeds, however, remained uncompromising.

With enough patience and determination, they eventually found a pedicab operator who took them to their destination for the usual fee.

I have a lot to learn from these coeds. When shopping, I sometimes find it difficult to mask the enthusiasm in my demeanor whenever I find something I want. Regrettably, my attitude often trigger opportunistic merchants to suddenly raise the prices, especially at establishments in which no price tags are attached to the merchandise.

And this increase in price is what some wise folks refer to as the "want it tax."

* * *

Related link:

33 Basic Smart Shopping Tips -


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:24 AM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

I would love to take this two shopping and let them bargain the price for me.

Love this series senor. Is there more?

March 13, 2008 7:39 AM  

Blogger Lawstude said...

i agree, i do not consider myself a wise shopper also (i think most men are).

i am often amused and adore shoppers who get what they want though bargaining.

there is this one instance that a shopper ask for a 50% discount on an item worth P1000 and when the seller refused, she just walked away but the seller called her up and gave-in to the shoppers price.

to make the story short, i bought an item for P800 and the wise shopper got it for P500. Ang galing.

March 13, 2008 8:37 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

for a woman, my husband is more astute as a buyer. He can immediately (mentally)remove the profit margin as well as all the other add-ons on a product and then haggle for the "right" price. In short, he is considered kuripot for a foreigner :-). He learned this through the hard way kasi...

For me, haggling is still a mystery. I want to buy things fast, even get to my destination fast and if alone (without my husband) will in all probability pay the atrocious price of those pedicab drivers just to get to where I want to go. But if it were my husband...bah! lakad!

March 13, 2008 9:03 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Can't explain it, Photo Cache, I seem to be a better shopper in New York than in Manila. I rarely pay retail in NYC; I wait for the sale :)

Glad you enjoy this series. During the early days when I started this blog, I wrote may fiction stories because it was my way of sharing local stories that I heard/witnessed. However, when I rediscovered photography and fell in love with photojournalism, I've somehow felt no more need to indulge in fiction ... hehehe :)

March 13, 2008 9:08 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many men, I think, are too shy to haggle with salesladies, especially if they happen to be pretty, Lawstude.

Nonetheless, I also know of someone who is good in getting/paying for what he wants. He once told me to never get too "attached." Doing so, he claimed, can end up costing you more money. He said that one must be willing to walk away and not worry about it.

And this may be what your friend did :)

March 13, 2008 9:16 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

My Ilocano aunts would love your husband, Bernadette. I can just hear them now saying, "Mabuti at matipid ang asawa mo -- yayaman kayo!" Hehehe.

I, too, prefer to get to where I want to go fast and hassle-free. I don't enjoy standing on a street for too long.

March 13, 2008 9:24 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

That is a wonderful series!
You can learn a lot about human behavior in those funny images.
Food for thought and street photography at its best.

March 13, 2008 9:44 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

i luv this story! :) you should see my mom haggle at divisoria, dang she's soooo good i wanna learn the art of haggling

March 13, 2008 9:55 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

To get the best bargain, avoid rush shopping. That's what I do. And yes, that's the best technique Lawstude mentioned. Slice the given price immediately to half - say, 500, haggle for 250. If the saleslady doesn't agree, pretend to walk away. Then she'll surely call you back. You'll be surprised that even with half of the price sliced, they still get decent profits. That's how much they pad the prices of their commodities.

March 13, 2008 10:13 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Sidney!

Yes, candid photographs can be revealing :)

March 13, 2008 12:09 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Pusa!

We can all use some lessons from your mom, I'm sure :)

March 13, 2008 12:09 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I think some merchandise such as electronics and appliances do not allow merchants for a larger profit margin, Rhoda. But on other commodities, especially when there isn't much information available, the sellers can make a killing :)

March 13, 2008 12:14 PM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

"Evil triumphs when all good men (or in this case, good women) do nothing."

Hats off to those two ladies for displaying courage and patience against all opportunistic pedicab drivers who were out to make quick buck at the expense of the riding public. Hard to do so when faced with a strike and a strong desire to get to one's destination. May we have more kababayans like them. Cheers!

March 13, 2008 2:31 PM  

Blogger luna miranda said...

I admire these 2 coeds for their patience and determination. I’m usually embarrassed to haggle at half the original price, so I ended up paying more, and I’d feel like kicking myself afterwards! I once attended a gifts show in China where we walked around the whole day. I was desperate to take off my shoes and wear a more comfortable pair. When we got to the market, I haggled for a pair of canvas mules, and I was pretty proud of myself.:D A block away, the same canvas mules were being sold at half of what I paid for! My colleague bought 4 pairs as pasalubong and didn’t miss a chance of reminding me how much I paid for my mules!

March 13, 2008 2:37 PM  

Blogger Aldrich said...

Bargaining is a science all on its own, really.

March 13, 2008 3:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I was very much impressed, Panaderos, by their sheer patience and optimism that they would find someone who will take them for the usual fee. And they surely found one even though it took some time.

March 13, 2008 7:25 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Good rule of thumb then, Luna, is not to buy anything immediately. But in your case, you really wanted to get into a more comfortable pair of shoes so I would've done the same thing you did.

March 13, 2008 7:28 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It may also be akin to playing a game of poker, Aldrich ... hehehe.

March 13, 2008 7:29 PM  

Anonymous bertN said...

It is very easy to bargain at a garage sale in 'tate because the prices are negotiable, unlike in regular stores where all the prices are fixed. At most garage sales, sellers just want to get rid of their "junks" and will settle for whatever they can get for them as long as you pay in cash. I once saw a prospective buyer asked for the price of a boxful of assorted goodies and to my great amusement, the seller said, "If you take them all, I'll give you a couple of bucks." LOL.

March 13, 2008 8:56 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Wow! What a bargain, BertN!

I think many flea market vendors buy their inventory at garage sales across the state :)

One of the things I sometimes enjoyed doing with friends during the weekend mornings was check out the flea markets along Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. One can surely run into some wonderful finds and haggle whole-heartedly ... hehehe!

March 13, 2008 9:40 PM  

Anonymous bertN said...

Senor Enrique, you are so right about the flea, or as they call them here, swap meet vendors. They get their inventory from garage sales. Usually, they offer to buy everything at a garage sale for a wholesale price and they resale them piecemeal at the weekend swap meet for a neat profit.

You do get a lot of wonderful items at bargain basement prices at garage sales. When it was still unrestricted in California to sell and buy firearms, I was able to purchase a rifle (a British issued WWII rifle)for $50 and the seller threw in all its ammo for free... more than a hundred rounds! Nowadays all private sales of firearms have to be transacted through licensed gun dealers for a fee and there is a waiting period before you can get possession of the firearm. On top of that, if you are a first time gun buyer, you have to show proof that you have attended a gun safety course class.

March 14, 2008 6:00 AM  

Blogger princess_dyanie said...

I am a bargain hunter and I usually haggle up to 50% off when I'm in tiangges. If the vendors would not agree with the price, I would leave the store and they would call me and will just agree with the preferred price. Hehe! ;)

March 14, 2008 11:17 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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