bargaining travel

Bargaining, haggling, dealing, trading… if you’re like me, you don’t really enjoy it. I’m always afraid I’m going to insult the seller. But I’m lucky: my husband is very good at it! He once trade his 10$ sunglasses for a dagger made of real silver!

In some countries, sellers are expecting us to haggle. If haggling is the norm where we travel, original prices quoted to tourists are vastly inflated. We should aim to pay 10% of the original price quoted, and this is not outrageous.

We should still pick our battles wisely. We shouldn’t waste fifteen minutes of haggling over one dollar! And we should have an idea of how much is worth the item we want, so we can later use that price as a starting point.

Then, we could determine what price we consider to be a great deal, a good deal, a mediocre deal, and no deal. When we begin to negotiate, we’ll start with our “great deal” price and the seller will probably offer the “mediocre deal”. Our goal is to haggle our way to a good deal — the closer to our “great deal” price, the better. Of course, paying cash give us the best chance at winning the haggle.

bargain

A good sense of humor and smiling is always useful. The conversation should stay nice for both parties.

When we have bargained for a while, felt the seller is not going lower and we still don’t have our price, we could keep silent, talk about what we don’t like about the item, and/or examine the item for flaws. We could also ask a reluctant partner what he thinks. If this still doesn’t get the price down, we could leave. Usually, the seller will chase us down!

When we’re happy with the price, we should stop haggling: when the price is set, it’s final. We have to buy and pay, otherwise it will be rude to the seller that we have wasted all of his time. And we should remember that sometimes, it’s not worth it to haggle: a 1$ book in Southeast Asia is worth a lot to the seller, but it’s cheap for us. So why not let them win a little bit? It will be a win-win situation!

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