Photo credit: Morg71 (Creative Commons license)

Photo credit: Morg71

While I was chatting with a friend of mine who runs a jewelry shop , a guide came in with some young men, one of whom really wanted to buy some earrings for his girlfriend. He doesn’t give commissions, though; so after some discussion, he told the guys to come back later.

After they left, my friend told me that the standard commission guides expect all over India varies from 30-35%, sometimes even more for carpets. This expense is passed on to the customer and leaves little room for bargaining. And of course, the guides who expect commissions clearly have a vested interest in not letting the price go lower. It was no news to me that guides often get a commission, but I had no idea it was so much.

This is almost always prearranged (they come back later to settle up), so guides try to steer their clients away from shops where they won’t get a commission. In this case, the earrings were in the window, and he was the only one in town who had the exact style the boy was looking for. Otherwise, I’m sure the guide wouldn’t have brought them there. Evidently, when he was refused the commission, he then told the boy that the quality was inferior.

Of course, not all guides expect commissions, but many do. And it probably depends on the type of shop. Another friend of mine who has a clothing boutique says that guides do bring customers to her shop, but that only about half the guides try to get commissions from her. She is another one who doesn’t give them as her fixed prices are really reasonable. She said that if she gave 30% commission, it would leave almost no profit for her as her markup is only about 35%.

Guides can be great, but not always for shopping unless you have so much money you don’t care.












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