Bargaining is the best part of going to exotic markets. You and the vendor outwitting each other, laughing, talking about all sorts of unrelated stuff, they treat you with tea or coffee… In the end, you leave with a story to tell, pleased that you struck the bargain of your life (though it often doesn’t turn out like that).
#1 Find out how much locals pay and refuse to pay more than that (ask a trusted local or take a peek over the shoulder of the buyer in front of you). For instance, state craft shops and hotel gift shops generally have fixed (high) prices, which will give you an idea of the upper real price limit range of goods.
#2 If the vendor’s initial offer is ridiculously high, you can laugh. This will quickly show them that you’re aware of the real price.
#3 Just as vendors often start with ridiculously high prices, you can offer a ridiculously lower price than you expect to finally pay. This allows you to negotiate.
#4 If you’ve made up your mind to buy something, you might as well say goodbye to the vendor, showing that you won’t continue with the negotiations and you’re leaving. This will guarantee you at least two more new prices, each lower than the previous. Alternatively, they might ask you “OK, how much would you pay?”, which means that the vendor is sensing that the potential sale is slipping away.
#5 If there’s two of you or more, you can act it out. You want the goods but your husband keeps the money and won’t let you pay so much, or something like that.
#6 Be polite and friendly (but firm) in the negotiations. If the vendor likes you, you will most probably strike a good bargain.
#7 They may offer you tea, coffee, something to eat, etc. You can accept but this doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Still, they may try to make you feel guilty. Stay firm.
#8 Learn the numbers in the local language and you can win some respect, hence a better price. Stick to the local language, if you can, even if the vendor speaks to you in English or your own language.
[Here are a few free language learning websites to start with]
#9 Remember that usually vendors aren’t evil frauds trying to take people’s hard-earned money. Often these are just businessmen working to support their family. By bargaining you’re not aiming to cut their profit but to reach a price that satisfies both sides.
#10 Last but not least, don’t take it too seriously.
Featured image: © Maria Angelova/203challenges