# Doesn’t Want Your Two Per-Cents

*(I’m currently backpacking through India, where I typically run into hassles purchasing items at the correct price, given that many retailers assume I won’t realize I am being overcharged.)*

**Me:** “How much is this?”

*(I point to a small bottle of rum, whose maximum retail price I am having slight difficulty reading.)*

**Clerk:** “50 rupiah.”

*(By the time the clerk answers, I can see that the MRP states it is 39.25 rupiah. Every item has an MRP printed on it by the manufacturer, which is inclusive of all taxes and charges. A retailer cannot legally charge me more than this price, but many of them try.)*

**Me:** “I’m sorry, but the MRP is 39.25.”

**Clerk:** “There’s a 10% tax.”

**Me:** “The MRP is inclusive of all taxes.”

*(I point to where it says this on the bottle.)*

**Clerk:** “There’s a 10% tax.”

**Me:** “I’m sorry, the MRP is inclusive of all taxes. However, a 10% tax would only make the price a little less than 44.”

**Clerk:** “40 plus 10 percent is 50.”

**Me:** “No…. 40 plus 10 percent is 44. 4 is 10 percent of 40.”

*(The clerk pulls out a calculator and demonstrates. He enters the number 40, and adds 10, but does not enter the percentage sign.)*

**Clerk:** “See! 40 plus 10 percent equals 50!”

**Me:** “Um, no. That is 40 plus 10. 40 plus *10 percent* equals 44.”

*(I take the calculator to show him the proper equation, but I must have missed the percent button as well, for my result mistakenly showed up as 50.)*

**Clerk:** “See, see! 40 plus 10 percent is 50! It is 50 rupiah!”

**Me:** “No, 40 plus 10 percent is 44. This bottle, however, only costs 40, as that is the MAXIMUM retail price. I am just showing you how to work a calculator.”

*(I enter the calculation again, correctly this time. He doesn’t believe me. I repeat it twice, enunciating ‘percent’ each time I press the percent button. He walks away to serve another customer in the middle of the third time and refuses to return as I patiently wait. After the customer is served and a minute passes as I patiently wait, he began to scream.)*

**Clerk:** “40 plus 10 percent is 50! 50! Don’t cheat me! The calculator says so! 40 plus 10 percent is 50!”

*(I leave without my alcohol.)*