If you don’t want just any and every vendor you deal with sticking their hands in your pockets, than you need to learn how to bargain. Bargaining is kind of like art… it’s better to know a few good tricks before just winging it and flinging paint blushes at a canvas. It can either end in a mess and disappointment, or you’ll be pretty damn pleased with yourself.
If it doesn’t have a price tag, you can bargain for it..and sometimes even when it does.
When traveling in certain areas you’ll start to see most vendors in tourist town carry most of the same stuff (like cashmere in Nepal, sea shell necklaces in the Maldives, or beer tee shirts…well… in any country). Walk around, see as many shops as you can bear, and ask the price, THEN go back to the cheapest shop. This will be a key bargaining tool later. When douche bag Dave (hypothetical person.. but catchy name, right?) from the tourist shop won’t budge on the price, you can tell him the shop down the road has the same thing for 4 bucks cheaper then maybeee Davey boy will drop the price.
Know Your Limit
The first rule of thumb is to know how much you are actually willing to spend on something BEFORE you even start bargaining. If you haven’t set a price in your head before hand, you’ll most likely get caught up the game of bargaining and end up spending more than you wish you would have.
Don’t Say A Price First
Ask anyone who is good at the game of bargaining and they will tell you that if you name a price first you’ve lost. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Even if they pull the whole “How much do you think it is?” “How much would you like to pay?” DON’T fall for it.
When I’m bargaining I love to try my hand at offering half of the price of an item, and it works a good deal of the time. Just remember that you can always go higher, but never lower. Nothing makes you feel like more of a loser when you offer a price and they immediately take it. It will be like being in first place on the last lap in Mario Cart and hitting a banana right before you hit the finish line THEN watching Douchey Dave swoop in and take the gold.
Even if you love what you are about to buy, will pay any price for it, and carry it through the store like it’s your first born child..try to act like you have no problem walking away from it. Try to barely even look at it. Even tell your friend in front of the owner that it’s not really what you want. These shop owners literally bargain for a living. If they get the tiniest idea that you want to buy it, the price will go up. The more you show you like it, the higher the price goes.
If they don’t go as low as you think they will, you should literally walk out. Some let you walk, some come crawling with lower prices. You can always turn back around and take it for the last price. You will have lost, but you still gave it your all.
No one likes giving a good deal to someone that argues and tells them their product is shit. Don’t be a Douchey Dave. Bargaining and being nice is probably the best advice I can give. On the other hand, my travel companion would disagree and say “If they don’t hate you when you leave, you got a bad deal.” Well he’s kind of a dick, but if I’m being fair… he’s a great bargainer too. Just see what works best for you (but be nice 😉
Show Them The Money
When I know what I want and what I’m willing to pay, I will put cash in different pockets. 1st pocket- “Look! This is all the money I have.” If that doesn’t work then pocket #2- “Wait, ok I found an extra couple bucks”. And if I’m desperate then pocket #3 -“This is the money I need for dinner tonight! Don’t you want me to eat?” Then I put on my *Please sir, may I have some more?* face….. and if that doesn’t work, then they are heartless.
You should also know that some people are just not willing to bargain. You will say a price and it’s like you told them their life is shit. They get insulted and you walk away. If you get one of these, just don’t even bother. Go somewhere else and enjoy not being ripped off by such an angry person.
Now go out and make me proud!