Buying and Selling

Oriental buying and selling. This is quite different from purchasing in the West. No fixed price is put upon whatever is to be sold. Ordinarily the buyer must expect to spend from a few minutes to an hour or so to complete a purchase. The merchant begins by asking a high price and the buyer by offering a low price. Then the bargaining continues in earnest. To a stranger this process of "striking a bargain" is a tedious one indeed, but the true Orientals enjoy it greatly. Among them, haggling over prices, and controversy, argument, and excitement usually become heated. When the sale is made, the buyer will go away to boast of his splendid bargain, and will be greatly admired by the seller. The Book of Proverbs pictures such a purchaser: "It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer; but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth" (Proverbs 20:14). The word "naught" means "bad."

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