As a constantly revolving foreigner, the art of haggling is a most useful skill to master for necessity and practicality. A skill also valuable back at home.
“In life, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate. So don’t be afraid to ask – the worst you can hear is ‘no’.” -Christine Tsai
Street markets, night markets, food markets, any market… Small shops, stalls, taxis, hawkers, hotels, anywhere that doesn’t have a fixed price…
Haggling or bargaining effectively in these places and situations will give you a fairer and often the best deal, also the great personal satisfaction of not being ripped off when most other foreigners will be.
As a nomad, I’ve had the struggle, pleasure and education of haggling in 50+ countries and I can say that is has become an art for me.
The varied experience world travelers like myself have gives us a unique perspective on haggling and I have noticed that the method that you need works the same way regardless of where you are.
It’s actually quite easy to learn but will take time and practice to master. Here is the basic 3 step process on how haggling should be done :
1) The Browse
If in a shop, look around with an emotionless face. Pick up an item here and there and place them back with no sign of interest, especially once you actually find something you want to buy.
2) The Offer
Its not what you say but its how you say it. Be or appear confident. Look at the target in the eyes after finding out what the price is and offer half of it (in Western countries, 2/3).
3) The Deal //
The target will counteroffer. Then you should offer half of that new price. In most cases, if done right, that will be the sale price. The key is to initially offer low, but not too low.
*Applied Guidelines and Haggling Tips :
-Always get a base price from the seller, never initially offer them a price without this.
-If you can’t get the seller to go any lower on a price and you really want the item, say you will accept the price if they throw in a much cheaper item from the shop for free.
-Ask their name and give yours, this makes it more personal with instant rapport.
-If the salesperson won’t stop haggling after your final price is rejected or they’re becoming bothersome, literally walk away. Don’t feel guilty, just go.
-If they accept your offer, you are obligated to purchase – remember this when haggling.
The art of haggling goes beyond just purchasing products and services like getting out of jam with the police, flirting or any other negotiative situation.
[The featured photo was taken while haggling the price of a cobra snake in Siem Reap, Cambodia.]
Oh yeah, effective haggling while traveling is damn good trade to learn.
Indeed, but not just for travel, in everyday life as well.
I learned how to haggle while traveling as well, the whole bargaining through a language barrier kinda makes you learn the hard way.
“The target will counteroffer. Then you should offer half of that new price. In most cases, if done right, that will be the sale price.”
Let’s say the tagged price is $100, I offer $50. OK. But when the seller says $90 to offer half of that new price would bei $45… Or is it meant to be $70. That would make more sense to me, or am I wrong?
I was thinking the same thing.