On A Serious Note: Negotiable Martabak Prices
Yesterday night, I was slightly hungry (as I did not have dinner) and on the way home, we stopped to buy some martabak manis. For Rp 28.000, we got a big box of it, around 16 pieces, and I only ate 3 before feeling too sleepy to eat.
Anyway, it brought up a memory of a few years back, while I was still living in Dharmawangsa – I was buying some martabak manis, and waiting for the martabak man to finish making it, sitting on a stool nearby. When done, I would be paying Rp 17.000 for a small box of martabak.
A mother and her son came by to order some martabak as well, and she asked for the price of the no-frills, sugar-topping-only martabak. The martabak man answered, Rp 12.000, ma’am.
Then the next thing she said stunned me somewhat: “can you make it Rp 10.000?”
She was bargaining for a martabak. I mean, any Indonesian with any self-respect would haggle or bargain almost anything I need to buy, but I guess it never crossed my mind to bargain food prices. Especially martabak. Not to mention that many street food vendors run on a minimum profit, so the martabak man’s compassion played a part in agreeing to the negotiated price.
I guess I’m very lucky that I’ve never had to haggle the price of my meal, and I should be grateful. It’s just that this single fact did not occur to me until that day.
So whenever I feel lustful towards some new gadget or something, I remember that mother who had to bargain the price of martabak. Maybe it’s lame and a bit snobbish of me, I know, but nevertheless, that small fact stayed with me after all the years.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded to be grateful of the simple, basic things in life.