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.

The Undercover Economist: a guide

Publishing schedule: Excerpts from "The Undercover Economist" and "Dear Economist", Tim's weekly columns for the FT Magazine, are published on this blog on Saturday mornings.
More about Tim: Tim also writes editorials for the FT, presents Radio 4's More or Less and is the author of "The Undercover Economist" and "The Logic of Life".
Comment: To comment, please register with FT.com, which you can do for free here. Please also read our comments policy here.
Contact: Tim's contact address is: economist@ft.com
Time: UK time is shown on posts.
Follow: A link to the blog's RSS feeds is at the top of the page.
Follow on Twitter
FT blogs: See the full range of the FT's blogs here.