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Saturday, 9 July 2016

As The Shop Closes For The Day... It's A Cheap Sale

You can buy bread for cheap at the end of the day. Just drop by half an hour before closing time. This image from WetCanvas.


All over town, artisanal bakeries vow to serve freshly baked bread. They know the discerning tastes of customers. So they bake what they can, with the delicious smells of freshly baked bread wafting down the street. It attracts customers, young and old alike, to come sniff their wares. 

But when the day is done, the bread that isn't sold will become stale bread. When bakeries close around 9pm, they close for 10 to 12 hours, and reopen the next morning. 

Notice that the bakeries never sell "Last Night's Bread" ? It's always "Freshly Baked, Hot from the Oven!" And that's why you're willing to pay extra for premium bread.

So what do bakeries do with the unsold bread at the end of the day? 

Some of them give it away to poor folks and orphans. 

Some of them send them to soup kitchens. 

And some of them sell it for cheap! That's a deal that you might want to look into.... 

About half an hour before closing time, just drop by the bakery and ask if they are selling bread at discount. You never know, you might get some nice panini bread for less than the usual.

Just one note: Doctors don't recommend too much carbohydrate after dinner. If possible, limit calorie intake after dinner. 

And another: Remember Peter Parker's uncle, who got shot by a robber sometime in the evening? Try to stay out of harm's way!

A vegetable seller at a typical pasar malam. This image from here.

Pasar Malam and Other Wet Markets

Pasar Malam, or "Night Market", are a common phenomenon in Malaysia. Most of these are operated once a week, but vendors at these pasar malam tend to do it on a daily basis. They go from one pasar malam to another, hawking their goods and wares. 

Other similar wet markets are "pasar tani" (farmers' market) and "pasar pagi" (morning market). The pasar tani places an emphasis on farmers' produce, such as vegetables, and are typically conducted in the morning. Whereas, the pasar pagi tend to have an array of fish, poultry, vegetables and fruits (and other raw materials for the kitchen), to cater for housewives who need to feed a household. 

But it's the pasar malam that tends to have many more types of products on sale. Aside from the usual meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, there are also biscuits, clothing, electronic gadgets, mobile phone covers, and various types of cooked food on sale. 

As you know, vegetables and various meats (fish, poultry, pork, etc.) tend to go bad after being paraded on a tray for 3 to 4 hours. The last thing the stall owner wants to do is pack it up and bring it home. His goods may not be as fresh the next day.

And so, the stall owner may offer a cheap sale! 

You'll have to visit the pasar malam just as the crowd begins to leave. Go after dinner time, around 9pm. Walk around and stroll leisurely. It's a good time to practice your haggling skills. (Note to self: Haggling is a good topic to explore in a future post.)

What to listen for...

The stall owner may know that closing time is coming soon, and the crowds are going home soon. Once dinner is over, and people start going home, they know that it's just a matter of time before they have to close for the day. And so, you might hear them shout...

"Half price! Half price!"

"Ikan bawal going cheap!" (Ikan bawal is pomfret. A type of fish.)

"Mari mari! Sudah mahu tutup! Murah murah!" (Come come! We're closing! Cheap cheap!)

A wise man once said, "I don't know how to describe it, but I'll know it when I see it." I think you'll know it when you see it.

Street food is sometimes more delicious than fancy restaurant food. This was a shot from my trip to Seoul some time back. We popped into a covered stall because of the light rain.

What I Think

We might have moral dilemmas when we feel that we are taking advantage of other people's misfortunes. But I run a professional service, and all too often, people press me for discounts that they don't deserve, and expect me to deliver as though they had paid full price, and then some. I've wisened up over the years, even to the extent of walking away from seemingly lucrative deals that, upon contemplation, are a real manipulation. 

They always say, "Give me a discount, I'll come back the next time." Guess what? They'll go elsewhere next time and get another discount, from another gullible fool. If you try to wisen up and tell them, "Pay me in full this time, and I'll discount next time," they'll walk away. They never intended to take your service in the first place....

I hate being manipulated.

But when you go bargain hunting, you're actually paying a price that the seller asked for. You're not manipulating anybody. You are accepting his or her offer. So, it's up to you to check whether you are being shortchanged, whether the seller is cheating you, and whether you need it in the first place.

The seller might be offering you his goods for cheap as means of recovering his costs and hedging his losses. The seller knows that his goods won't sell as well the next day, but if he sells them today to you, he'll be able to use his profits to source for new goods for the next day. Fresh goods that help him live up to his promise. Fresh goods that he can sell at a premium price. Fresh goods that other buyers will be hunting for, first thing tomorrow morning.

So you see, you're really doing him a favour. You are helping him turn his goods back into cash, break even, and continue playing the game. If he runs out of capital, his game is up, and he has to go back working 9 to 5 for the man. 

Question is, are you doing you a favour by helping him? Do you need the discounted goods in the first place? If you think you can consume the products soon (tomorrow morning sounds good) before they get stale, and you want to, then go right ahead. If you're doing it just because "It's a bargain!" -- maybe it's not really a bargain, and you're just looking for an excuse to spend some cash. In that case, you are just fulfilling that need to tell yourself that you accomplished something, by snagging a bargain. I'll help you relieve yourself of that burden. You can give your cash to me.


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