Haggling: how low do you go? Blog & Poll discussion
in Martin's blogs & appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the news
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Former_MSE_Lawrence Former MSE
Read Martin's 'Haggling abroad… as a rule of thumb offer 10% of their start price!' blog about this poll.
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
This discussion has been closed.
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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.
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.)
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.
£10 to £15 start, settle for £30.
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.
Did anyone see a recent Rick Stein program where he was buying a tagine in Morrocco?
Went something like this:
Rick: how much?
Rick: I'll give you 100
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!
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 !