Dennis Wright's Blog

Haggle Hassle

Posted in Far East Cruise 2007, Hong Kong by Dennis Wright on April 25, 2007

My trusty old Minolta SLR no longer had a place in the digital age, but Sony had bought the Minolta camera business and last year launched the Sony Alpha 100 digital SLR which would work with my existing Minolta mount lenses. To boot, the new Sony has anti-shake technology built into the camera itself (not into the lenses as with other makes), so those old lenses would reap the benefit.

Naomi thought we should buy the new camera in HK, partly to get a better price but mainly so we could have a good haggle. She had tried out her brinkwomanship to great effect a few years ago in Gibraltar when buying a Casio digital camera (the one used for all the HK photos in posts to date) and was hungry to re-enter the fray.

I felt like Brian from the Monty Python film – eager for my goods at the stated price but kept waiting and obliged to haggle.

I checked out the price on the first night in HK. Igal suggested asking in Fortress, a chain of electrical shops a bit like HK’s equivalent of Currys. Their price was about the same as best UK internet rate, but I knew we could do better.

On second night in HK I kept asking in more shops. Some were offering ridiculously low prices but looked too shady to trust. Wouldn’t power up the camera for us to try – claimed the battery wasn’t charged. We tried a more likely looking shop in Nathan Road and thought we were onto a decent deal. The price was a good discount relative to UK, the shop owner seemed knowledgeable. When we said we wanted to buy, though, it took a long time for the owner’s lackey to find a sample in stores. Naomi was not convinced the box was sealed. The salesman started trying to recoup on the discount by pushing me to buy an upgraded memory card. Then kept droning on about an anti-scratch cover for the rear screen. We challenged him on the international guarantee – he gave us a Mickey Mouse form to fill in that I reckon would get laughed out of any Sony repair centre.

I was getting cheesed off about the “you really need to buy this as well…” salesmanship and Naomi was concerned it was not a new camera. That and the dubious guarantee were all too much and we pulled out of the sale. The shop owner went well nigh ballistic – not desperately professional.

We were right, though. Credit to Naomi in particular for her instincts and she was spot on. The next night we bought the camera at an even better price from a far more professional shop in the Mong Kok district. Sealed box. No attempt to keep selling us unwanted add-ons. Clear explanation of how to get international guarantee from Sony Customer Centre in nearby building (which we did next morning).

It really was worth all the haggle after all.

The Star Ferry on the way back to Kowloon – on the first class deck.



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