barter in india

#1 May 24th, 2008, 01:55
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#1
I'm going to Delhi and North of India on late July.

My parents stayed in Delhi 25 years ago and in that time, barter worked...p.e. by giving a parfum bottle or a Marlboro pack, you could have a little tapestry, etc. I have been told that in that time, bartering was very very common.

Does anybody know if things have changed? If bartering works nowadays? If yes, some tipical barterings?

Thanks a lot!!
#2 May 24th, 2008, 14:31
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#2
You have to barter in India and to survive, be very good at it..
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#3 May 24th, 2008, 14:49
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#3
Quote:
barter worked...p.e. by giving a parfum bottle or a Marlboro pack,
25 years ago, there was a huge charm associated with what were "foreign" products as it was difficult to purchase international consumer brands here, at least not without a hugggge premium

With th opening up of the Indian economy, the Marlboros and perfumes are readily available anyway so that barter idea may not work to your advantage anymore, if at all it works....
Planning a trip to Spiti this December - Can you help shed some light
#4 May 24th, 2008, 21:47
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#4
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Originally Posted by The_Londoner View Post You have to barter in India and to survive, be very good at it..
I think what's meant here is bartering (exchanging goods) instead of bargaining (haggling over a price).

I'm not aware this takes place on any significant scale no, or not involving the casual visitor anyway. I wasn't aware it would have been in Delhi in 1983 even for that matter. Maybe if you're firmly grounded and know or knew all the ins and outs of the (very) local market.

But, yes, if you have something exotic to exchange... one could try, I suppose. Like Abhi noted, you may find many Western products aren't as exotic anymore anyway. I imagine most shopkeepers and the likes would be deeply offended rather at your even trying; sort of like trying to entice the natives with the classic beads & mirrors.

I guess maybe in a village setting a resident local might barter e.g. a sack of rice for some vegetables or so, but other than that... no, I can't really picture it.
#5 May 24th, 2008, 21:50
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#5

.

It was one an example, I think that the way of the question was other and was clear...anyway I suposse that bartering is off nowadays..
#6 May 25th, 2008, 02:27
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ps Not to offend either the Indians or the Spaniards, but I was thinking later that depending on their origins or backgrounds your parents at the time may have been used to a somewhat similar sytem at home to an extent of making it easier to strike a rapport with it in India. Would have depended on the length and circumstances of their stay too, no doubt.

But in any case, I wouldn't count on this working for you in any meaningful sense today, no.

(Before I have the Spanish IM membership all over me, I'm just thinking that as far as I know there, too, bargaining for instance used to be far more common even just a few decades ago than it is today. Anyway I'm just trying to think of why your parents might report it worked for them at the time, and I'm not doubting them as such.)
#7 May 25th, 2008, 05:44
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#7
25 years ago, India was a significantly different place than it is now.

Today, the only bartering that tourists can get away with is how many rupees to exchange for a given commodity.

Cheers
Zoltan
#8 May 25th, 2008, 11:13
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#8
If you live in a rural or urban-slum area, with everyone keeping livestock etc, then I'm sure barter goes on, even if only on a friendly, informal level (uhhh.... I guess that is called 'sharing' ).

However, as far as urban life is concerned, it doesn't (well, maybe it does among shopkeepers, eg veg for eggs, but that isn't really barter, its just cutting out exchanging the same coins back and forth).

What could a visitor have that could be usefully offered in exchange for anything they would want?

Work in exchange for accommodation is the only thing that comes easily to mind, and this may be part of the ashram or volunteer traveller's life. Generally, though, people don't go on holiday to work!
#9 May 25th, 2008, 12:46
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#9
20 years ago my sis in law set up her practice in what was then a rural area of Secunderabad and routinely received chickens and vegetables for consultation and treatment. Now its a built up urban area. I miss those old days..
#10 May 25th, 2008, 20:25
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#10
my pet hate is when folk mix up the meaning of barter and haggle
#11 May 27th, 2008, 07:32
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#11
In the 70s, when I was first in India, only Indian-made goods were available on the open market; it was possible to barter a few things, like Western perfume, cigarettes, cosmetics, razor blades -- and there was a thriving Black Market for those goods, as well. ... all that changed when Rajiv Gandhi took over and signed "joint operating agreements" with manufacturers from other countries -- now those same goods are made in India and freely available.
#12 May 27th, 2008, 08:44
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#12
Brings back memories of a holiday in Moscow in the old regime and all the 'gifts' we had to give the scary scary woman who kept the keys to our hotel room, and the cartons of cigarettes we exchanged for tickets to the ballet etc... we could have taken every piece of clothing off we owned and swapped it for something!
#13 May 27th, 2008, 09:37
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#13
Oh yes. Chewing gum, old jeans, posters of hollywood stars, sunglasses.... everything seemed barter-able in the Soviet Union.
#14 May 27th, 2008, 09:46
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#14
I think bartering would go down like a lead brick out our way. If your object of barter is definitely prized and worth a lot more than what you're getting, might work...
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