Differences in Culture

28 January 2012

This past week I went to an "auto parts" place (the Ford dealership in Nairobi) to get an oil filter for our car. I asked how much it was. (I had already confirmed they actually had one. That was the first hurdle. I have not yet put it on, but hopefully its the right size and fits, that will be the second hurdle) The sales rep types on the computer for a couple seconds and then quotes me a price, which included a 10% discount. I then ask if I can get a "better" discount, can I get a 20% discount. He types for a moment and replies. "If you're comfortable with it, I can give you a 20% discount." At this point I'm thinking I would actually be comfortable (his word, not mine) with a 90% or 100% discount, but I'll take the 20%.

What I really found interesting was that before I even mentioned anything about a discount, the sales person offered a 10% discount off the price. I think this must tie into the African culture. Not only does everyone want to feel like they are getting the best deal, they but they want to be/feel important. "I must be a special customer to get a discount."

I can just image the looks I would get if I walked into an Auto Zone and asked for a 20% discount.