Let me start by sharing that I hate bartering.
It’s not in my nature at all. I often feel that the price being offered (when I do the currency exchange in my head) seems really quite fair, especially if the item does genuinely seem hand made or potentially laborious to craft. Even the markets in South America I struggled with the concept that it was not only normal but expected that you barter.
These tips can help even the most fledgling of a barterer navigate a bustling market scene.
- Decide how much you are willing to spend on something before you approach anyone to purchase. This will help give you resolve so you can focus on sticking to your “bottom line” and bartering your way there.
- Save by buying multiples of one item from the same stall or multiple items from the same stall. Most vendors are happier to barter to a slightly lower price per item if you are going to be a larger overall sale for them.
- Make sure you have change and small bills for your shopping. It’s harder to barter for 20,000 for something when you pull out a 100,000 bill. Many vendors also may not easily be able to break large bills like the ones that come out of the ATM automatically so in part this is a way of being considerate.
- Bring your own shopping bag or purchase one at the markets you can keep re-using later so you can say “no thank you” to the single use plastic ones that might be offered.
- Be ready to walk. If you feel like you really aren’t willing to pay more for something and the bartering has halted-walk away. Depending on the vendor (more often than not) as you leave they may call out to you and be willing to go with the lower price you offered because a sale is better than no sale.