Haggling: how low do you go? Blog & Poll discussion

Poll ran between 01-08 October 2007. How low do you go? Results

Imagine you're on holiday in foreign lands known for haggling. You see the most perfect, hand-crafted shawl/chess set/doo-dah. The seller asks for the equivalent of £120; what would your opening haggle be (which should be only a little less than you're willing to pay)?

This vote has now ended but you can still click reply to discuss below.

A. £1 -2% (162 votes)
B. £5 - 2% (180 votes)
C. £10 - 5% (444 votes)
D. £15 - 3% (305 votes)
E. £20 - 9% (811 votes)
G. £30 - 11% (1010 votes)
I. £40 - 14% (1247 votes)
K. £50 - 15% (1377 votes)
M. £60 - 15% (1297 votes)
O. £70 - 6% (555 votes)
Q. £80 - 9% (756 votes)
R. £85 - 2% (167 votes)
S. £90 - 4% (337 votes)
U. £100 - 3% (252 votes)
W. £110 - 0% (30 votes)
Y. £120 - 0% (27 votes)

Thanks to everybody that voted :)


  • teddycoteddyco Forumite
    397 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Suggestion for a poll: Considering the recent ballyhoo over a possible early election, I am interested how Money Saving members would vote? Brown or Cameron?
  • I would go for 100, don't want to be rude!
  • £30

    Bargaining, A simple rule
    While selling
    - exaggerate, overstate, overdo, make it look significant/enormous/massive value for the customer
    While buying - Say that it is the most trivial/insignificant/minor for you and make it easy for you to walk away.

    Businesses do bargaining everyday and they are expert at it, you will loose anyway. Why not try really hard.
  • Abida_2Abida_2 Forumite
    26 Posts
    ok - streets in China are full of bartering sellers. A Chinese guide suggested the price is way way over the odds. The opening bid for a jacket you can get in this country for £150 was £250. It finally came down to £50. (the guide thought this was fair and the seller muttered he was only expecting to get £20) - but they do this for fun - the locals don't haggle much, the Chinese love 'playing' with foreigners as they do in India . It's exactly the same as in the Arab states. however, in India, I tend to pay more than I would (to the kids) because I know often they are orphans.
  • darklydarkly Forumite
    8 Posts
    Same here in Egypt. Typically the opening price (in a tourist area) will be about 4 times the value. This is mainly because some people don't haggle and think they are buying something really expensive / or good quality. Fair play the the seller I say, if they are going to be that naive.

    In non-tourist areas I'm usually quoted 2 times an acceptable price (because I am foreign) and end up paying just under half. It will still be more than a local but, hey, I can afford it and am contributing to my community.

    The only time a really barter hard is for things where I know there is a "fixed" price: Cans of coke, bread and taxi fares. I'll quibble over 2.5p just out of principle. (Considering a bottle of Pepsi is only 10p it makes a bit more sense.)
  • tenuissenttenuissent Forumite
    340 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
    I would start at £60.

    I have just spent a few days in Bangkok with two Thai friends, and the way they haggle or bargain is fascinating. They are totally goodnatured about it, both sides perceive it as a game, they rattle on at top speed, laughing and gesticulating - no-one is offended and they all seem to enjoy it. No first price, whether for tuk-tuk, a tailor, a watch, a handbag is ever really serious. It is clear that the seller has a rockbottom price below which he will not go, and when my friends bargained for me at a night market for the watch and handbag, I had previously been clear about my top price.

    I was a little sorry they bargained so hard with the tuk-tuk drivers, as 30 baht is nothing, and 20 is even less, for such a service, but it is such a way of life for them that they can't resist it, and cheerfully admitted it.

    In Uganda once, I paid the asked price for something and the lady selling it was actually disappointed: "Bargain! Why don't you bargain!" I think the clash of wits and the hilarity of it all helps them to get through tedious days.
  • Start at 10%, settle for 25%.
    £10 to £15 start, settle for £30.
    Be Pure, Be Vigilant, Behave!:A
  • The techniques for haggling depend to an extent on the local market, there is nothing wrong with haggling in the UK.

    If you pay anything like full price in a so called communist country (China, Cuba), or in a third world country; you might still think the "stuff" is a reasonable price BUT you have taught the local seller that western tourists are a rich push over. Much worse that there is no point on doing a real job, when conning tourists is an easy option.

    Check out what the "stuff" is worth here in the UK, complete with at least 17.5% tax and a number of middle men mark ups, before you go. Then if you can deal with the actual producer so much the better. At least your money does not go to corrupt politicians and help pay the foolish loans they have loaded onto their countries.

    Deal hard and earn the rest of us a little respect, don't encourage people in countries like Uganda where 40% of the budget is already foreign aid, to sit there holding out the begging bowl.


    PS The guide may well be on commission. "Which country do you come from? How many people are there in your party?" that translates into "Which guide do I give the commission to".

    Find out the wage rates in the country for people who have to do a full day's graft. Don't be surprised at figures like 0.25 GBP an hour or 50 - 100 GBP per month for a factory job.
  • PeteWPeteW Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Depends on the culture of the couttry I'm in, and what I'm buying but I'd probably go for around £3.

    Did anyone see a recent Rick Stein program where he was buying a tagine in Morrocco?

    Went something like this:
    Rick: how much?
    Seller: 1000
    Rick: I'll give you 100
    Seller: SOLD!

    The seller snapped his hand off at 100, so I bet he could have had it for a fraction of that price.

    Incidentally, why does the question say 'which should be only a little less than you're willing to pay'? Seems a very odd tactic, you should start off WAY below your max!
  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
    13.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker Hung up my suit! Mortgage-free Glee!
    I don't believe that the locals would sell way below their cost price and they are not forced to sell so I would start really low and walk away if they didn't get down to what I thought was good value.

    We have been to China and to Istanbul recently where bartering is a way of life even if you really don't want to buy anything !
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