Today we studied micro entrepreneurship by visiting a local open air market.
The breakfast bar at our hotel. The food here is good and amazingly inexpensive. I got a fillet mignon for $6.
Permission based marketing may be a new concept to us westerners but I know a couple of Ecuadorian girls aged 7 and 10 that are masters of it. We stopped at a rest stop on the way to the market. They offered to ride with us the rest of the way and sang to us in a native Indian language.
The older girl had and a half year old brother on her back and they were adorable. They sang well too. After serenading us they then asked if they could show us their handcrafts. Those girls made more money in that 20 minute buss trip than most American college students make in an entire week.
This girl was six years old and could count back change without the need for a computer.
They built trust and gained our attention with their singing. After that, making the sale was easy. I think American companies could learn a lot from this idea.
Two sisters working at the family booth.
One of the things I have noticed here in Ecuador is how integrated the families are. The fathers work along side the sons and the daughters work with their mothers. The people seem to be happy here.
An Ecuadorian woman with her family.
They have enough for food clothing and shelter and on top of that they have strong families. In a way they have more than most Americans who have food, clothing and families that get along best when they give each other lots of distance.
An Ecuadorian boy sweaping the ground in front of his fathers mechanic shop. His mom is out back with a child on her back working as well.
Supply and Demand
One we got to the market Cynthia and I set out to look at the vendors. I had no idea my sister was such a good negotiator. Apparently, she learned how to drive a hard bargain in China and now that she new the language she was going to town on these vendors. We did a lot of bargaining in the market which was a lot of fun. We tried not to get anything for “Gringo Prices.”
One of the interesting things and bargaining for a price is that it dynamically and automatically finds the equilibrium point between supply and demand. The less you want something the lower the vendors are willing to go on the price. I bought a hat and I could have gotten and even better deal on it if I hadn’t wanted it so much.
How to Bargain
The key tactic of bargaining as a seller is to read the body language of your customer to judge their demand. Don’t lower the price unless you think it will help you make the sale.
The key tactic to bargaining as a buyer is to hide your interest and even fane disinterest. A good tactic is to walk away once you have gotten them as low as you can and there is only a little space between your positions. Another tactic is to get prices from multiple vendors and to tell them you could get a better ganga (bargon) at another booth. That gets them to drop their prices like a rock.
You can buy all kinds of things at the market.
These vendors could move the merchandise on their booths very well. Far better than what I see at the Belton Flea market. It may be because these people are selling their wears to survive and the flea market folks are selling their wears for fun.
In Mexico the children and even some adults begged us to take their picture. Here if you ask someone if you can take their photo they will ask for a tip.
One of the girls on our team pay fifty cents to take this photo. This girl makes her living posing for photos.
Imagine a place where the ground rises up and touches the sky. This is what Ecuador looks like. I have rarely seen beauty like this anywhere else. Unlike the Rocky Mountains, the Andes are filled with vegetation and farms. We saw a cow grazing on a hill that had at least a 45 degree slant to it.
Roses are still everywhere.
We visited a volcano that had turned into a 6000 foot deep lake. One of the pretties sights I have ever seen. The sides of the lake rose up into the clouds which reflected on the water.
This lake is on the inside of a volcano crator. It is 6000 feet deep and probobly the prettiest location I have ever visited.
We are at 10,000 feet, the hight many planes fly at so the clouds sometimes just float along the ground. It is like a sky forest here.
It rains often with cold rain. Everything is wet and green.
My sister Cynthia. The higher you climb the more air you need and the less you have available.