In some areas, shopping is a completely different experience from the clinically clean supermarkets of theUK– exotic markets can contain everything from the ingredients for local dishes to expensive perfumes, clothing or jewellery. It’s not just the environment that’s different, however. If you want to get a good deal (and gain some street cred from your travelling companions!) you should be prepared to barter.
Bartering or haggling is the practise of negotiation between the seller and would-be buyer over the price of an item. Obviously, the seller wants to receive as high a price as possible for his/her wares, while a buyer doesn’t want to pay over the odds – or more than other people have paid! Bartering is something of an art form– but the only way to get better is to practice. Take a look below for our best bartering tips!
Have a clear idea of the maximum you are willing to pay for the item; the best way to do this is to know the quality of the item and have an idea of how much other people have paid. Talk to other people in the area; get an idea of whether the item you’re looking at is of a good quality and if the seller is reputable.
Talk to the stall keeper and try to get a measure of how he works. Some people will respond to flattery and lots of chat, whilst others will only lower the price when they think they will lose a sale. Try and see the stall keeper bartering with someone else – it’ll give you an idea of how to best talk to them. Once you start bartering, listen to what you’re being offered and take a moment to consider it.
– Never accept the first offer
Even if it is a reasonable price, you should not accept the first offer – it’s part of the bartering game! Tell the seller that the price is far too expensive and you can’t afford it – here, you can either be quite brief – act as if you’re going to leave, or you could suggest that you’re very sorry to try and get some sympathy.
Once you’ve rejected the first offer, suggest halving it. It’s unlikely that the seller will accept such a discount (although it has been known to occur!), and will probably offer you a price somewhere in the middle.
If the seller isn’t budging on price, why not suggest that you’ll buy at his figure if he also gives you a freebie? This is fairly common – suggest that you also need another item that the seller happens to have, and you may find you’ll get a buy one, get one free deal!
– Sense of humour
Don’t take bartering too seriously – you need to have a sense of humour. The more relaxed and friendly you are with sellers, the more they’ll be likely to interact with you and give you a good deal. If you’re too serious or push a seller too hard, you’re unlikely to get a good deal and it’ll sour the experience of buying in a local manner.
– Be prepared to walk away
Just walk away from a seller if you don’t want to pay his prices. This is sensible for two reasons – firstly, you won’t spend more money than you had set out to, and secondly, you may find that by walking away, you’ll be called back with a better deal! Know your price, and if you’re not offered it, shrug your shoulders and leave with a smile – you’ll probably find another seller who’s prepared to haggle round the next corner!