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CROSSFIRE Deal Or No Deal? It’s All A Game Of The Mind By Herman Githinji I t is about midday, I am walking down the streets of Nairobi. I caught up with a hawker. He was of middle age and built. He was selling a handful of electrical and bits of masonry stuff. The total worth of his stock was about 7,500 shillings. You always wonder how much they make at the end of day. He looked beat and desperate. As a salesman myself, I emotionally feel for every salesman especially on a bad day. So, I opened a discussion with him. He has been walking whole day and sold nothing. On a good day, he would have had money for lunch and some more for fare back home. I asked him about what frustrates him most in a day. “Well, I hate when I try to sell to these rich people, in big cars, and they negotiate to the lowest price. They are the worst payers.” He tells me. That sounded intriguing as it was paradoxical. Why is it that these rich people want to wriggle out every coin with a bargain from a poor hawker? These are the same people who give five hundred shillings as a tip. These are the same people who may give one hundred thousand as tithe to a church. These are the same people who walk into a restaurant and pay 2,000 Shillings for a meal. The psychology of pricing and what customers are willing to pay resides in what marketers’ call “value for money”. Naturally, all customers or buyers are looking for a bargain. We all want to feel that we have gained more than what we have paid for. That can be real or psychological. Naturally, in every situation, we want to win, or feel like we have won. Buyers want to check three boxes: Can I afford it? Will it meet my desired needs? Did I buy at the right price? When customers willingly and happily buy a product, at a price they can afford but later find the same product selling cheaper elsewhere, they feel cheated. They get very upset despite deriving the expected We feel we have had a deal when we get a lower price than marked, or when we get the lowest price than you can ever find elsewhere. When we suspect we are being exploited or taken ad- vantage of, we won’t buy. We negotiate to get a bargain. That satisfies a psychological need of making us look good or smarter. We tell about it when we win, we shut up and implode when we lose. 04 MAL25/18 ISSUE benefits from it. We feel we have had a deal when we get a lower price than marked, or when we get the lowest price than you can ever find elsewhere. When we suspect we are being exploited or taken advantage of, we won’t buy. We negotiate to get a bargain. That satisfies a psychological need of making us look good or smarter. We tell about it when we win, we shut up and implode when we lose. That is why free valuable things give most satisfaction. I mean, best things in life are free. This is true no matter how rich a person is. In supermarkets, we all tend to choose the bundled products. In markets, we are happy when we get some extra produce for free. We get that satisfaction even when we know the price has factored into that free item. My teenage son goes to a site for some Chinos online. He finds one selling at 50 dollars and another 5 dollars extra for shipping. In another site, he finds same product selling at 55 dollars and free shipping. Guess what? He buys the one for 55 dollars and free shipping. I asked him why, he said he feels he is getting a