One of the main drawbacks of the retail boom is that other than pushing the small shops to the brink, it also spelt the death knell to bargaining. Shopping in retail outlets is done in silence compared to the clutter and haggling in traditional shops and flea markets. In eastern cultures, bargaining is an age-old tradition. In countries like India, China, and Thailand, bargaining is a way of life. It is a stress buster for housewives, fun for students, the euphoria after winning a verbal duel for old ladies, and a vent to release the monotony of the day for shopkeepers. No wonder many people look towards a visit to the flea market just to test their bargaining skills. The ‘fixed price’ policy sought to stifle the art of bargaining. Instead, the art of bargaining is stronger than ever. Other than getting the best deal, the experience itself is worth indulging in. But to be a good bargainer there are certain criteria that you must follow. After all nobody is a born bargainer. In the East, bargaining is not taught, it is imbibed. Children see the elders haggling, on a daily basis and catch up on the tricks. For the rest of the world it must be learned. Bargaining is another lure of the East. Clinching the deal is just an added bonus. Bargaining is also very necessary for tourists in these countries so that they don’t overpay for whatever they buy. To help aspiring bargainers, go through the article below to learn how to bargain.
How To Bargain?
- First, prepare yourself. A confident bargainer is the best bargainer. Your body language should convey your position.
- Get a feel of the costs of the products. You can either visit a fixed price store first or know the prices online or you can have a general estimate. However, for antiques you have to consult the relevant authorities to have a correct estimate. Sometimes in flea markets you can get original antiques at throwaway prices, so, don’t think that it is a fake.
- In Eastern countries, the first sale of the day is considered lucky and so if you shop early then you are sure to get a good bargain. In addition, you can practice your bargaining skills in the morning as the shop keepers are likely to be less demanding.
- Don’t show it even if you desperately want the item. In most cases, the level of your interest will determine the price of the product. Try to show your indifference by looking over various items at once.
- Don’t show any anger or arrogance. You won’t get anything. Instead, maintain a carefree behavior. Be chatty like you are taking to a friend. Being on the good books of the shopkeeper will go a long way in reducing the price of the item.
- Start the bargaining process by showing your disbelief at the price quoted by the shopkeeper. Ask him/her for the ‘real’ price.
- He may reduce the amount a little and say that it’s final. Don’t take his word for it. Sometimes he may ask you to quote and you must say and show that you are only willing to give only one-fourth of the amount. Sounds ridiculous but this is the hallmark of bargaining. Gradually you will go up and he will come down, on the price until both of you reach the common ground.
- After quoting your price be prepared, as it will be rejected as an insignificant amount. Tell him that the item is way too expensive and that you are not prepared to pay that much.
- Keep quoting and rejecting. However, do it in a fun way so that tempers do not flare.
- If the shopkeeper is not willing to drop the price further then walk away. Most likely, he will call you back with a far reduced price. Remember that the ‘walk away’ method should be used as the last resort as it can be used only once. After this, there is only the final compromise.
- Another way to get a good bargain is to walk around the flea market and see what’s on offer before buying anything. In flea markets, you can find the same items in different prices, so it is always better to be on a lookout.
- Remember that the best bargainers are the ones who enjoy bargaining. It should be a fun experience irrespective of whether you clinch the deal or not. Many shopkeepers enjoy it and so work toward matching their enthusiasm.