Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Profit is a four letter word

In India, there seems to be a cultural disrespect for the word "profit". I remember walking in an exhibition and hearing this conversation:

"Kitna hua" (How much)
"200 rupees"
"Bahut zyada hai" (way too much)
"Isme bahut kam margin milta hai" (i don't get much of a margin/profit here)
"To margin nikal ke bolo na" (remove your profit margin and tell me the price)

I was flabbergasted. Sure, this is negotiation. But the implication was Sell me this item at no profit. This, by itself assumes that the exhibitor will give you the item at just about break even pricing! (Of course, shops are smarter than that)

But we have a history of con-jobs. Most times people indulge in uneven pricing - meaning they price items at different rates for different customers. Foreigners get the worst treatment here; and even the unsuspecting middle-class gets stiffed ever so often. In that light, a strong negotiator is very highly recommended.

The problem, though, is in the abhorrence of profit. It's not like "Give me your best price" - that is perfectly acceptable. But asking one to ditch his profits so he can make a sale seems unfair, and is fascinatingly acceptable in this part of the world.

With a new middle class, and cash rich people, will all of this change? We just have to bet on it.

1 comment:

Just Mohit said...

i wouldn't bet on it dude! It's too culturally ingrained...over 60 years of socialism does that to you...not gonna be cured in 10 years at least!