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August 21, 2005

Generosity Backfires

I have seen this happen several times.

  1. You agree to pay him twenty rupees.
  2. You think, "He's worked really hard."
  3. At the end you give him thirty rupees.
  4. He looks at you angrily and says "One hundred rupees."
  5. You say no.
  6. He gives you the thirty rupees back.
  7. You walk away.
  8. He insults you.
  9. You feel guilty and angry, you give him twenty rupees and walk away.
  10. He insults you again.
  11. He realizes that you're not going to give in.
  12. He says he is sorry, says namaste and goes.

The only exception to this happened today. I bartered from a starting price of thirty rupees, to an agreed upon price of twenty rupees. I had to walk away from the same rickshaw three times to accomplish this. During the journey, I sang "Om Namah Shivaya" to myself quietly. At one point during the journey, the driver turned to me and said "You're a cheating man." He said this to me twice. I wasn't sure that he was referring to me. On arrival, I gave him the twenty rupees and looked at his face as I gave it to him. We both smiled at each other. Then once he had accepted the twenty rupees, I have him another ten rupees. He said "Yes! Om Namah Shiva". After a more meaningful than usual namaste, we parted ways.


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