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3 Tips To Bargaining At Markets

If you’ve spent some time travelling in Asia you have probably come across the widely accepted cultural custom of ‘bargaining’ for goods.

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Usually this game – I like to call it – occurs at market stalls, whereby the seller will offer a price and the buyer will offer a lower price. This is commonly practised all over South East Asia; particularly in China, Bali and Thailand.

From my haggling experiences, I’ve pulled together my best tips to help you steer away from being ripped off.

bargaining, markets, haggling
1. Show deep interest

Make the seller aware that you’re interested in their products. Ask questions. Keep picking the item up and putting it down while observing intently.

Doing this for at least five minutes will make it seem you’re a serious buyer.

2. Offer a price

One of the most important things to do is offer a ridiculously low price – lower than the price you would be willing to pay. You have to give yourself something to work with to make it look like you’re being fair by meeting the seller with a price ‘closer’ to what they’re offering.

Be prepared for a shocking response from the seller, a sob story or some serious abuse. It’s all part of the game to make you feel like you’ve overstepped your mark.

They’ll tell you they won’t be making any money.

TIP: If you’re interested in buying more than one item, let them know! The more stock they can get rid of, the easier it is for you to work on a reasonable price.

3. Walk away

At first, they seem like they aren’t interested in doing business with someone who is asking for a low price. The best thing to do is put the items down and slowly – I repeat – slowly, walk away while thanking them for their time.

I guarantee within the first few footsteps you take out of their shop you’ll hear a panicked shouting “okay, okay” either agreeing to your price or lowering theirs.

If they don’t follow you, don’t beat yourself up about it. Three stalls down will probably be selling the same thing. Now you will have grounds to work on with the next seller.

REMEMBER: At the end of the day, they are the masters of this art. If they agree to your ‘low’ price, they’re still making a profit, despite their ten minute cry about not profiting from their buying price. 

They’ll make you feel like you’ve won, but they’ll be smirking inside because yet again, they’ve done you over.

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Images via Nepaliaustralian, globalgallivanting

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