Doesn’t Want Your Two Per-Cents

| Bangalore, India | Working | July 25, 2013

(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.)

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