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How to haggle like a pro

October 13, 2017
How to haggle like a pro

Whether you’re buying for souvenirs or a bag of freshly-baked bagels, haggling can either be an emotionally draining or a fun experience depending on how you approach it. Don’t you love it when the vendor agrees to sell an item at half of the original price (only to find out someone still had it at half of the price you paid for)?

Haggling is, in itself, an adventure. It is supposed to be done with the intention of having fun and gaining a new experience. But should not be intended to take advantage of someone or “steal” goods from helpless vendors.

Point is, haggling should be a fun feat. An experience you have to have at least once in your lifetime. And to help you put through it, we’ve put up some of the best tactics to give you an idea how to haggle and get the best possible discounts and bargain deals.

How to haggle like a pro.

It’s cheaper by the dozen. Remember this catchphrase? It works wonders. Offering to buy in bigger quantities put you a bit in control of the negotiation. Ask your friends or relatives if they would want the same item you wanted to buy and if they do, go forth and ask for a bigger discount.

Explore the road less traveled. Rummage around the end corners of the bazaar. This applies to just about anywhere else as impulse buyers tend to buy the first things that catch their interest (we all do at some point, don’t we) so the merchants at the far end of the bazaar are much more likely to give bigger discounts when they really need to save something. Knowing where to haggle should be a part of your portfolio of haggling tactics. Know how to haggle, and where to haggle.

Knowledge is power. Look around and have an idea how much similar items are priced. Having this information gives you the idea how much you may bargain for the ones you like and gain the upper hand in the bargaining process.

Fake it till you make it. Feign disinterest and be willing to walk away. You do not let the vendor catch you drooling over the item you really wanted, lest you lose the upper ground. The vendor is most likely to stick with a higher price when you give an impression you are willing to pay an arm for that piece you’re aiming for. Fake it as much as you can and be prepared to walk away if the vendor won’t give a better deal. If the vendor calls you for a better offer, you’re in good luck. Otherwise, there is just NO TURNING BACK!

Look aghast! Give an impression that you have an idea how much that one piece really costs and that the vendor has marked it ridiculously overpriced. Having grasped your astonishment, the vendor is most likely to ask how much you’d be willing to pay which leads us to the next haggling tactic.

Never offer a price. Your task in haggling should be limited to agreeing or not agreeing with the price the seller is offering. You don’t make an offer, not even a counter-offer. If you don’t like the price, ask how much more the vendor can lower it, say it’s still too high and what is the last price. If you think the offer is reasonable, buy it. Otherwise, keep asking for a lower price. BUT NEVER MAKE A PRICE OFFER.

But in case you do and the seller accepts your offer, have the decency to buy the item at the price you asked for. You don’t offer a price and not buy the item when the vendor agrees. It’s just plain rude. Or crazy.

Move up the food chain. There is no point bartering if the person you’re talking to is not in the position to decide on the price. Make sure you’re talking to the owner or manager of the store, or at least someone who knows their price margin.

Dress up to the nines. NOT. Admit it, Paris Hilton probably wouldn’t get a discount in a bazaar no matter how much she knows how to haggle, right? So don’t dress anywhere near her. Avoid giving the vendors an impression that you are from the upper class, even if you are and especially if you are not.

Smile. You’d probably not get the punchline if you’re nowhere from the 80’s. Establish rapport. A simple hello goes a long way. Know how to haggle, spice it up with a little chitter-chatter and the vendor will be more likely to loosen up a little.

Haggle reasonably. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, you don’t haggle to take advantage of the merchants, you do it to get a good deal. Truth is, knowing how to haggle doesn’t always mean you have to haggle. Be a bit more considerate.

At the end of the day, it’s all just a game. Have fun haggling but never take it too seriously, too emotionally, or too physically. And remember, haggling is never meant to trick or take advantage of unsuspecting vendors. Haggle and aim for a win-win situation – the buyer saves some, the vendor earns some. Both sides happy.

Have other tips on how to haggle like a pro?

Shoot us an email or leave them in the comment section below.

How to haggle like a pro
How to haggle like a pro

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  • First off, your pictures are adorable and so apt for the post. Second, I agree that haggling can drain you out. I like the point of looking out for heavy discounts at the end of the bazaar – makes sense. Cheers!!

  • Alexi R

    What a lovely guide, I love the presentation honestly, with those anime statuettes it made my day 🙂 about haggling well it differs on how you execute this guide on you situation. If I would apply this to a flee market or side road vendors, personally I won’t I’d rather help them. However on the other hand I would definitely practice this in my “courses” groceries in big markets of the city. Such a wonderful guide!

  • Neha T

    I love this post so much – it has information and tips lol , one will need it while shopping. the pictures of the toys though are super cute. <3

  • Helene Choo

    Great post with an awesome topic! I love haggling in Asia:D Especially because people never assume I speak Chinese and I take them by surprise:D It’s a lot of fun being dramatic and doing the whole back and forth!

  • Digital Travel Guru

    I TOTALLY love haggling hahahaha and I have become quite good at it now, as my friends make me do it of them, and I do get some great bargains. Fabulous post and such fun to read. Great tips too.

  • Such helpful tips! Loved reading this, deffo need this for working and living in Asia!

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