I have developed a unique haggling method out here and Anne (my friend who I'm in Sri Lanka with) seems to have adopted it too. Earlier, I was getting a tuk tuk to meet Anne in the centre of Colombo and the guy asked me for 400 rupees. I said no, too expensive, it's not far, how about a better price to which he said 300. Still I said no and he eventually said "okay, 200". Great, I'm thinking and then I start to feel guilty as I realise that going from 300 to 200 saves me 50p which he needs a lot more than me. So I say to him "I know, what about 300". He looks at me like I'm mad but accepts my new offer and off we go.
En route we get talking and I ask him about his family. He has 2 daughters and one is 22 and at university. I say that I know it must cost a lot of money to put his daughter through uni and he tells me he will work every hour to do that for her because "you get a husband and what if he is bad news or he gets into trouble in his work. It is far better that my daughter can take care of herself even if there is no husband or the husband is no good". I'm liking what I'm hearing and again feeling guilty as anything.
So we get to the meeting place and I give him the 400 rupees. It's two pounds and it's the right thing to do. But this guy must have thought I was a "crazy woman" doing all that hard negotiating and then giving him what he asked for in the first place.
Anne of course was laughing at me when I told her this but tonight, we beat a guy down on price and somehow by the time we got back, she was handing more than the price he asked for in the first place! Like I said, it's the right thing to do but you do wonder what they must make of you!