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April 17, 2018 4 min read

It was a hot afternoon in November 2015, at my brother's head office, Ho Chi Minh City, there was a gentleman dressed in a business suit. His name was John.  In front of him was an incense heater, next to it was a teapot and 2 cups.

Source: Self-taken, Evergreen Office

He put an agarwood chip on the mica plate to heat it. After 2 minutes, he nodded his head. His facial expression did not change but he looked pleased. Taking a sip from the teacup, he said

  • "Give me a good price, I will buy a lot"
  • "Well John, what do you have in mind?" my brother asked
  • "What is the best price?"
  • "It depends on the quantity you are buying?", my brother added, "How many hundred kgs we are talking here?"

He looked stunned, laid back to his chair, everything was silent. 

By the way, I was packing some orders nearby Feeling awkward because it was so quiet, I looked up and tried to observe the situation.

My brother was calm and composed, he looked at John and said

  • "Excuse me, John, I will be back in 2 minutes".

He went out of that room and asked me what my thought was. Then, he told me that John was just bluffing "Ông đó không mua trên 1 kg đâu" (it means he would not buy over 1kg). he spoke to me in Vietnamese.

  • "How do you know brother? He dressed well and looked like a rep from a big company" I asked
  • "Don't believe me? Just watch"
My brother smiled, then he went inside the room.
  •  " So John, you liked what you tried so far, and you said you would buy in large quantity?"
  • "Yes"
  • "Give me a number, John?"
  • "100 gram"

I was drinking water and had to cover my mouth. I used my index figure  to pick my ear as I thought I heard it wrong

  • "No worry John, it would be $250 USD"

My brother weighed the chips for him and sent John out with a smile. No hard feeling whatsoever. Before John left, he told my brother,

  • "I would come back and buy in bulk next time, it would be a few hundred kgs potentially"
  • "Thank you, John," My brother said goodbye to him

At the same time, a guy was wearing short and tong walked into the office. Pointed to the display glass, he asked my brother if he could get one of the display items

  • "I want the long piece one, please." the guy said

He looked at it and observed some of the other pieces. My brother told me to get a box ready as he would purchase.

  • "what if he did not buy?" I asked
  • "Then I would buy you dinner"

The guy wearing thong paid for the chosen piece in cash and left the office shortly. Later my brother told me a secret that I never forget til today

"When someone said they would buy in bulk or large quantities before knowing your price, 9 times out of 10, they were tyre kickers"

 3 years later, I had many chances to verify the truthfulness of his statement. Get ready to have a laugh 


1) "Send them as soon as possible to pursue my order"

 The person in this story asked and rushed us to send her samples. When we asked for payment, she ignored and provided her address for us to send the samples too. We have no words

2) "I will buy bulk"


We received many phone calls, the above is quite typical

They thought that by saying: " I WILL BUY IN BULK, give me the best price" we would be bending backwards to serve them. 

We also played a small game, eventually, they disappeared. Of course, someone like the above is VERY COMMON

3) Tyre Kicker

" Hi, I would like to buy some oud but would like to sample first"

So confident that giving out the address? Sorry dude, at least offers to cover some postage, we might think again?

After the response email showing where the samples could be purchased, we never heard back from him.

4) The entrepreneur but does not know what he wants, but free samples

Imagine, if we accept one of this type of request, we will be out of business in no times, everyone wants a free sample without paying. 

From the above conversation, chances are he already asked multiple Oud vendors or Oud Grower and hopefully he could receive what he wanted. Best of luck!


5) Give me the best price, I will buy a lot

This usually over the phone conversation, when the " buyer" showed, we politely asked the quantity they are looking for? The answer was 100g. We thought we heard it wrong, it must have been 100kg. He then repeated 3 times, "100 g, g for George, for a gram". Ok, we got it (George is different than John (one was on the phone, the other one was in-person visit, they were not the same person but similar behaviour) 



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