Shopping in foreign countries is something that everyone likes to do. After all, when you’re at an open air market, you never know what treasures you’ll find. The prices in other countries tend to be pretty cheap, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save even more money. The secret? Proper haggling, but notice the word here: proper. There are some do’s and don’ts that you need to think about before you really engage in haggling. You don’t want to just jump on any haggling deal that comes your way — you want to think things through. Everything can seem like it belongs in your shopping bag, but you might be biting off much more than you bargained for.
For the timid out there, you might wonder why you should even bother haggling in the first place. There’s a good reason to haggle: it’s fun, it feels great, and you will gain valuable negotiation skills. When you’re out in a market and other people are haggling, you might want to jump in. The reason why is because there are some places where merchants will look at you as an easy target if you don’t engage in some haggling. Even if you make an attempt, this is better than nothing.
The number one thing that you don’t want to do is try to haggle too much, ore be aggressive. That might work in your home country, but it will only make you look foolish at the market. You will always want to be polite, even if other people around you aren’t being polite. It’s just the way the world works. You never know — if you’re polite, you could gain a lot of respect and a better discount than if you were to get loud.
This is even harder for say, Americans who end up in a foreign country. Most locals are expecting you to be loud and rude, and if you give in to temptation, you’ll be proving their point. Make sure that you avoid doing this as much as possible. While it’s harsh to single out Americans, the truth is that people tend to focus on the biggest target first. It’s just a way of life.
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to haggle. For example, if you’re in a more standard shop and you don’t want to haggle, you shouldn’t feel pressured. In fact, most shops that have a fixed price do not want you to haggle. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to ask politely. A simple, “Is that the best price offered for that item” goes a lot farther than, “Gosh, couldn’t you go down on the price?” One answer is polite and respectful; the other response is very confrontational.
Overall, it goes like this: you will want to treat people like people. Shopkeepers and outdoor merchants are trying to support their families as best they can, which means that you shouldn’t try to just rush into some sort of haggling frenzy. Take things slow, and you’ll definitely find the discounts you’ve been looking for — and maybe even a whole lot more!