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.

But I’ll leave my culinary adventures for another blog. Maybe post some pictures on Tumblr.

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.

About barijoe

Failed Musician, Reformed Gadget Freak and Eating Extraordinaire.

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