Never cross John Gapper

The FT’s Chief Business Commentator writes from Abu Dhabi:

I liked the pattern on one and asked what it was. “Silk from Iran, made in Turkey” was the reply. I asked how much it was. “Six hundred and fifty dirhams,” he replied…After a bit of back of back and forth, I worked my way up from 200 dirhams to 350 – about $90 – and we shook hands on it…

After driving away and parking elsewhere in town, however, I took another look at the carpet and found a label still attached to the back. This brought home the second aspect of asymmetrical information during our bargaining session: I had not known what I was buying.

"Made in Belgium, 100 per cent Viscose,” the label read.

At this point, I was caught between just deciding I had been conned and leaving it at that or going back to confront the carpet shop owner. I decided on the latter…

Read the whole thing.

Tim Harford’s blog

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Tim, also known as the Undercover Economist, writes about the economics of everyday life.