The Big Felafel

Bargaining – no one wants to be a sucker

In Israel, there is a very strong mentality not to be a sucker (friar). Tangent: When I first got to Israel I thought the word friar meant the religious guys in robes that I saw in Italy, but really it means sucker here. No connection that I’m aware of.

In Israel, every minute of every day people are trying not to be a sucker.

So they bargain. Bargain, yell, curse, growl, and make ‘yo mama’ jokes. And then they bargain some more. Until neither side feels like a sucker. Or until one’s body odor overpowers the other’s.

Apparently, every single purchase (maybe with the exception of the supermarket) is subject to bargaining. As Baka Diary points out, everything from kitchen tiles to a scoop of ice cream don’t have fixed prices.

Is it wrong to disagree with the whole bargaining culture? Is this something that we’re proud of? Is this exciting for people?

Making a new purchase can be stressful enough without thinking that someone is trying to rip you off. Not everyone can have a smooth talking Israeli by their side.


For every frustration, there is an entrepreneurial idea. Someone should offer their skills as a professional bargainer. Especially for homes, appliances, furniture, and cars. They make a little money, and you pay less.

Or, alternatively, let’s abolish the whole bargaining business and just sell things at normal prices. Yeah right.


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  1. * Mark says:

    Actually , apparantly there is a connection to the “robe bearing” friars.The friars supposedly dedicate their lives to poverty and accept no gifts etc. An Israeli definitely doesn’t want to be one of these!

    | Reply Posted 14 years, 3 months ago
  2. * Jorge says:

    Jeez Bargaining is the most popular thing in many places, for Example Mexico, yes yes is my dear country but Everyone does it, just as the israelies and even more. That is one of the common things mexican and israelies have between them, Yeahh i think is not so bad after all…

    Imagine this: I was trying to get a cap yes a cap for 90nis then I remembered some words that my wife said to me a couple of days after we arrived to Israel “Bargain everywhere except the malls” so I Did it and I got my cap for 40nis I felt really good because i got something i like for 50% less than the real price instead get screwd.

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 7 months ago

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