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Thread: Do's and don'ts

  1. #1
    Jumbo B.Scott's Avatar
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    Do's and don'ts

    I was thinking about a thread on another forum where a person buying koi in Japan is critisized for haggling with the breeder over the price of the fish.(among other things)

    I would be very interested to hear from people with an intimate knowledge of Japanese society (esp Brian ) on what is the polite way to behave when going to Japan to buy fish.

    Is is rude to haggle?
    If so, are there other ways of letting a breeder know you very much like a fish and would buy it if the price aws slightly lower?

    I have heard it is often customary to bring a small gift to someone you are planning to do business with. When is this appropriate?

    What are the general rules of polite behavior when visiting a breeder?

    I would really hate to go to a breeder and embarass myself, the person guiding me or heaven forbid the breeder I was visiting because, I was ignorant of how things are done. While I'm sure a guide would try cover for a foolish Gajin, I wouldn't want to have him thinking I was just another uncouth ugly American who didn't know how to behave.
    No trips to japan planned yet, But someday...

    B.Scott
    Semper in excreta, sumus solum profundum variat

  2. #2
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Hey Scott,

    It's bedtime here now, so you'll get the full picture from me tomorrow, but to give you a short answer...no it's not good form to haggle with a breeder over price. There's a few reasons for this which I'll delve into tomorrow.

    Good night for now!
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  3. #3
    Sansai Bob Hart's Avatar
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    Good post Scott, will be interested in Brian's reply.

    Perhaps Brian could touch on the cheaper price 'bulk' buying and how you would approach this.

    On my one trip to Japan, it was always said to me that we should buy 'together' and in that way we would get a cheaper price. Therefore 3 or 4 Koi would be put in a bowl and a price asked for for them all. I always felt unsure about whether 'we' had insulted them in any way, but I was led by the more experienced dealers I was with.
    Regards, Bob
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    I have never visited Japan, I am not japanese, I don't even have a single Japanese gene in my blood. I just like to throw in my view of the Japanese culture.

    The Japanese culture emphasis the 'respect' aspect in every dealing, including repesting the enemy. the second aspect is the spiritual side of life, where everyone should go the distance to be honest, and be rightfully treated as being an honest being.

    When you do business with Japanese, a few things are implied. You trust them to provide the best goods they possibly can, and you trust that they price it with all honesty. An in return, the seller may give you discount or something, which says: I appreciate you liking my goods and valuing me as a honest being.

    When you buy and haggle, you are essentially saying to the seller: I trust that you are providing the best goods, but you are not being honest in pricing it. That is extremely insulting.

    The advice is not to haggle. However, if you are dealing with cron, that is a different story.

    stan
    Last edited by saratogatan; 01-12-2005 at 01:59 PM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    While we're waiting for Brian.......

    While visiting a breeder, you only ask to have a koi bowled if your considering buying it. If someone else has bowled a koi you must wait until he has decided yes or no before making a move to buy. I have seen people have koi bowled and never say yes or no and walk awy only to ask another to be bowled. after several events, you have lost the breeders respect or interest.
    I have never haggled over a price in my life and never would. I love to buy from the same breeder each year i go and develop a rappore. I have gotten to see better and better koi that way and I may be dreaming but i feel the prices become a little better each time.
    Now from a dealer's standpoint I have seen a volumn buy produce koi that were formally "not for sale" but you are talking serious money now. It's a business transaction!
    I think it's most important to be well versed in etiquett, so Brian's answer will be interesting!

  6. #6
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Scott,

    Just as Dick says, it's best to only ask the breeder to bowl koi that you're serious about. Of course, things depend on your relationship with the individual, and it's not always a black and white thing. People will lose interest in you after a while if they don't know you well and think you're insincere.

    Now, if you're buying a single fish, it's not good to haggle with the breeder especially if you're anything less than a steady customer for him. Haggling is a feature of many cultures, but not really popular in modern Japan. You're probably going to embarrass yourself, your guide, and depending how much of a discount you've tried to secure...the breeder himself. If you buy a single koi, then you pay single koi price. Simple as that. If you were buying 3 koi together of which the total was 1.1 million yen, and asked the breeder to make it an even 1 million, that's not stepping over the line too far.

    I've dropped in on some breeders when parties of foreign buyers were there to buy, and I could tell you some stories about breeders getting ticked off! In one instance, I watched a gentlemen consistently inform the breeder that the koi he was being shown where only worth "half the price" he was being quoted. The breeder remarked that he would show him some better fish that might be better suited to what this buyer was looking for. The breeder pulled up 2 different showa from the adjacent pond that were almost twice the price previously quoted. The gentlemen was excited at the prospect of getting better, more "expensive" koi, but still managed to haggle the breeder down to about half the price. Now, the buyer was obviously not in the hobby for too long, as he couldn't discern that the second batch of koi he was being shown were similar (I actually thought them to be lower quality than the first batch) quality. The breeder outsmarted the poor haggler, and ended up getting his original asking price by showing him similar koi and quoting double the price, with full understanding that the fellow didn't understand their value to begin with. Most breeders may be country bumpkins, but many are as shrewd as they come!

    If you get a reputation with a breeder for being a haggler, he's going to remember you next time, and you're not going to get his best price to begin with. If you haggle, you'd better full well understand quality and defects and be able to sensibly explain why a koi isn't worth the quoted price. That's fair business. But if you're expecting to get a discount just because you're you and think that you're going to press the breeder...you'd better think again! You may get away with it a few times with breeders that really need the money, but ones that are at the top of there game might just hang up the net and bring your visit to an abrupt halt. I've seen it happen!

    There's plenty of koi to be had. If one doesn't suit your budget, then keep looking. Haggling will not serve you in the long run unless you're a dealer or buying in bulk.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  7. #7
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Great Thread B.Scott!

    Should re-title the thread to Koi Buying Etiquette in Japan. I'm sure after a few months, the Japanese breeders will see a significant difference in the attitudes of their new customers...at least the Koi Bito subscribing ones...hahaha.

    Omiyage...something us folks in Hawaii do on a regular basis. Growing up, it just gets ingrained in your mind as the right thing to do no matter where you go...I'm glad to see that it is alive and well all over the world.

  8. #8
    Tategoi erwinsan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian
    I've dropped in on some breeders when parties of foreign buyers were there to buy, and I could tell you some stories about breeders getting ticked off! In one instance, I watched a gentlemen consistently inform the breeder that the koi he was being shown where only worth "half the price" he was being quoted. The breeder remarked that he would show him some better fish that might be better suited to what this buyer was looking for. The breeder pulled up 2 different showa from the adjacent pond that were almost twice the price previously quoted. The gentlemen was excited at the prospect of getting better, more "expensive" koi, but still managed to haggle the breeder down to about half the price. Now, the buyer was obviously not in the hobby for too long, as he couldn't discern that the second batch of koi he was being shown were similar (I actually thought them to be lower quality than the first batch) quality. The breeder outsmarted the poor haggler, and ended up getting his original asking price by showing him similar koi and quoting double the price, with full understanding that the fellow didn't understand their value to begin with. Most breeders may be country bumpkins, but many are as shrewd as they come!

    There's plenty of koi to be had. If one doesn't suit your budget, then keep looking. Haggling will not serve you in the long run unless you're a dealer or buying in bulk.
    As funny as this story is; I could see it happen and I'm sure it's happened more than once. I've witnessed people haggle at our local dealers and I don't understand why. If one truly understand nishikigoi and their value then one can assess their price. If one feels the price quoted is too high, then don't buy it (no need to haggle). Maybe the next time they visit their dealer or breeder they'll recieve a better price knowning that this person has a good understanding of nisikigoi. Also, if one over pays, then chalk it up to the price of education in the subject. "I've paid for a lot of lessons "

    Beauty is subjective and so is pricing on nishikigoi. Pricing is based on beauty and appreciating what you're looking at.

  9. #9
    Nisai
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    Yes Brian, the incident you quoted are very common. I went to Japan last April with a local koi dealer,visited 6 koi farms & witness these sort of incident happen myself. Many foreign buyers end up with lower grade koi because the breeder or the farm apprentices show them very high grade tategoi initially but the buyer think they're not worth the money.
    Koi is an auspicious fish to the chinese so being superstitious(as usual) haggling is seem as bad luck to start with when buying koi. If we think that the dealer price is too high normally we'll ask for an explaination. If we think that he is sprouting nonsense & not honest we just don't frequent him anymore.

    SF

  10. #10
    Jumbo gregbickal's Avatar
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    When we went to Hiroi's place, I was very embarrassed at the haggling a certain individual did on the 2 kohakus pictured below. Back and forth many many times. The brothers did not want to bargin the price. There was a very nice Doitsu Ochiba at Hiroi's that a couple of us were interested. The other party said they were buying for freinds, and that if I wanted the koi, I could buy. The koi was out of my pricerange, but I decided this would be my one special pick. I went ahead and bought it, without bargining. I think it was like $300.

    When we went to Miyatora, Mark Bodycott showed me a very nice 3 year old Asagi. I was mainly looking for 2 year old koi, and that one was a little out of my price range, specially since I bought the Ochiba at Hiroi's. If I kept buying fish in this pricerange I would not be able to keep within budget. Keep in mind that my price range was $100usd koi and this one was $400koi. They bowled it up anyway. Fujio asked me to make an offer, and so I gave a low one which I was sure that would be rejected. I didnt want to insult the guy by not making an offer. The offer was rejected, but then Fujio made a counter bid, and when Mark reminded me the price (in dollars), I ageed to the purchase. I think it ended up being $330.

    The picture of the kohakus were the ones which were bargined so heaviliy
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