If you’ve ever been to Asia you’ll know that markets are just a normal way of life. Locals have been trading in this way for many generations, only since the rise of tourism over recent years have we seen these bustling spots become high on the tourism bucket list.
What’s great about markets in Asia is that you can pick up pretty much anything; food, drink, jewellery and of course – doggy outfits. YES, that’s actually a thing!!
One of the most important things that YOU need to learn BEFORE you hit that first market and burn through all that hard-earned cash is…HAGGLING. Haggling/bartering/bargaining/negotiating is a very normal part of life in many countries around the world. I know for us westerns it seems kinda weird to walk into McDonald’s and try and lower the price of a Big Mac…well just to let you know something important…that instance is the same in Asia too! 🙈
If you’ve never tried it before you will absolutely love trying to play the good old game of halving the price you were originally offered (if you get close to half-price you’re usually in for a winner!).
So here we go, here are 8 simple rules that will take from tourist prices to local prices with a cheeky bit of haggling etiquette;
Always start with a smile
I know it sounds pretty obvious but doing anything with a smile on the road usually ends in a positive outcome. The same goes with haggling, make the store owner feel that whether you buy it or not doesn’t change the outcome of you’re day. Remember, locals don’t appreciate that hard-man Rambo attitude.
Remember 1 important thing – you are a guest in their country! Keep that smile alive like I mentioned above and be patient. The respect is usually received pretty well and say ‘No thankyou’ if the price isn’t for you (don’t just walk off without saying anything).
Learn the art of walking away
Ok, you might be thinking…WTF you just told me NOT to walk away. What exactly do I mean by ‘learning the art of walking away’? Let’s just say, don’t fall in love with whatever it is that you see at the stall. You need to have the attitude ‘take it or leave it’, I’m sorry but this is the brutal truth.
Confidence is the secret sauce
If you walk in with your tail between your legs or your head in your hands the street vendor is going to walk all over you. Go in there with confidence and show them that you know your sh**. Remember CONFIDENCE not ARROGANCE!
Take the original figure…and half it
Whenever I talk about hagging, I always say – half the original offer and get ready to negotiate. Somewhere near half or a little higher is seen to be a SOLID result!!
Work on the multiples
If I was a street vendor and you walked in looking for 10 pairs of sunglasses and not 1 pair, I would 100% give you a solid price! So if you and your buddy want a new pair of sunnies…go together and do it in multiples…why not buy your grandad, uncle and little nephew a pair to save a few baht!
Don’t touch the item!
This is a bit of a sneaky one and it all boils down to FOMO. Once you have something in your hand – the guy you are dealing with is already WINNING. It’s a psychological thing, naturally, it is hard to put something back that you already have in your hand. They KNOW THAT! Remember…if you want it…DO NOT TOUCH IT until you agree on a price (you will notice that most vendors will try and hand the product to you 😂)
Show them the MONEY
This is a super EFFECTIVE tactic! When you are experienced enough to know how much you ‘should’ be paying. Get the money out, go in there like a man/gal on a mission and show them the money nice and early…this technique often cuts the bullsh**