Why pay a tourist price at a merchant store abroad, when you can get things for its local price?
Merchants are notoriously famous for scamming tourists who are unacquainted with the local prices. They will charge you more than the original price and make heavy profits without you having a clue about it.
This is where haggling comes to play. Haggling is a technique used by experienced shoppers to lower the price if a product or a service. The trick is to negotiate until you get deal of your liking. This becomes more challenging when you are shopping abroad.
Here are a few ways you can haggle when shopping overseas. Haggle till you get a rock-bottom price and avoid paying the tourist price.
1. Show the money
This advice might seem strange but by holding the exact amount in your hand, the merchant will get tempted to just close the deal and move in the next customer. This advice is quite useful while you are abroad and stand out like black sheep. Merchants don’t want to come off as unfriendly to the tourists, particularly, in countries having a good reputation(as far as tourism is concerned).
2. Obey the rules
Before reaching the market place, make sure to research on the internet and find out the haggling rules over there. Every city has different rules and you don’t want to get into trouble by imposing your own rules onto others. Haggling rules are generally influenced by the culture in that particular region.
3. Know their lowest price
Merchants are very aware of the tourists and usually will give a much higher price when you first step in a store. It is also known as the tourist price. This happens a lot in some Asian countries where the value to their currency is much lower(60 to 70 times lower) than the US dollars. Ask them for the lowest price. If they still don’t lower the price, gesture to walk away from the store. They usually cave in once the customer walks away.
4. Have plenty of change(in the local currency)
Needless to say, having plenty of change in the local currency is a must when shopping in a local merchant market. Do not keep all your money in your wallet. Keep most of it in your bag or fanny pack, and only a few in your wallet. You don’t want to come off as a dumb tourist who is loaded with cash; waiting to be scammed.
5. Learn to greet in the local language
Speaking the local language can lit up a merchant in some parts of the world but can also be frowned upon in a few select countries. Unless you are in Thailand or Indonesia, learning to greet in the local language will help you get massive discounts on your purchases.
6. Take a local out for shopping
Mobile apps like Couchsurfing are amazing when it comes to meeting and socializing with the locals. Just login with your Facebook id and turn on the “Hangout” feature. Locals and other tourists in that area will contact you directly. You can invite them for shopping as going out a local or an experienced backpacker will make it easier to haggle. This advice is gold particularly in places like South America where crime rates are high and scammers are just waiting for the next naive looking tourist to arrive at their store.
Are Haggling and Bargaining the same?
Haggling and bargaining are not the same. Bargaining is something you can do while shopping in your hometown or negotiating with someone you know. Bargaining is a lot mellower and gentler than haggling. Haggling involves intense arguing and a verbal tussle between the buyer and the shop owner.