Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Currency and Haggling

There are three main forms of currency in Teleleli.

The most common is the cowrie shell. The second-most common is the wooden 'salt', the only actual coin. It is worth one-tenth of a shell. The third is the amber, or 'namber' in common parlance, which as the name would imply is a blob of amber of a certain weight. It is worth ten shells.

The Telelelenes say "why aren't people who live on the beach rich?" where we would say "a fool and his money are soon parted."

The cowrie shell is also used where we would use dice. A handfull are thrown, and the number falling 'mouth' upward dictates the total.

Most goods of more than a few shells will not be sold at a fixed price. Rather, the price will be fixed by bargaining.

Merchants will generally start by quoting two or three times the price they expect to get. So the traveller who is pressed for time should expect to pay far more.

One should allow about one minute of bargaining for each shell in the final price. Unusually determined and skilful bargaining, which might result in a saving of one-third, is likely to take five times as long.

Shops generally open for a minimum of six hours (three in the morning, a break of several hours for siesta, then three in the evening) and a maximum of ten hours. Thus, for more expensive items, negotiation might take place over more than one day.

Note that dwarves have a reputation for having lots of money, but also have a reputation for being prepared to bargain forever if need be. These essentially cancel each other out.

Merchants will start at a higher price if they think the customer can afford to pay more. However they will also refuse to bargain if they think the customer is too poor to afford the item. Thus the ability to appear wealthy or poor depending on the desired purchase is extremely useful. However the law forbids dressing as a member of another social class, and although these laws are hardly enforced, merchants will take advantage of them if they can (with utter hypocrisy, given that their fondest hope is to buy their way into the nobility).

Haggling is traditionally conducted over glasses of strawberry tea, which are provided by the merchant.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...