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Do’s and Don’t to Haggle Like a Pro

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Never. Pay. Retail.

It’s a mantra my family lives by. Couponing, discount hunting, and bargaining are all part of my daily life. Whether I’m at home or traveling, I love to score items at a snip. You can use these tips to haggle like a pro across the world…

1. DO Be kind and smile. No one will want to work with someone who is cold and overbearing. Humor is even better. If you can establish a connection with laughter, you are far more likely to score a bargain.

2. DON’T be a cheapskate. If you are in an area that is suffers from large poverty stricken areas, ask yourself if that dollar you are haggling over is worth it. He or she might be just trying to make a living, but beware of those who are trying to take advantage of tourists. Use your gut feelings to determine what the circumstances are. Keep in mind, vendors of any background won’t agree to an unfair lower price and they will try to play your emotions. If he suddenly mentions he is feeding 6 hungry orphans, convey empathy and turn it into charm. “I understand, I am also feeding 6 hungry orphans! All the more reason we should work with each other here.”

3. DO learn the language. You don’t have to be a fluent speaker, but know some jargon will help. It gives the seller the idea you aren’t a stranger to the area and may be savvier than the average tourist.

4. DO word your offer well. How you approach the price and conveying that you are willing to shop somewhere else must be artfully done. Tact is so important. Begin with flattery – “This is a beautiful necklace. I see why you have it priced at XX, but I can only spend XX.”

5. DON’T start with your price-point. Always ask what the vendor’s price is first. Always.

6. DON’T go too low. You can offend the merchant if you start by offering an unfairly-low price. Generally speaking, 35% off the base price is a good place to begin your bargaining.

7. DON’T convey too much enthusiasm. If you begin to gush over the item, the seller will notice and it will tell him you are going to be willing to pay more.

8. DO work with a buddy. Having someone to voice your concerns too or reason with will always work in your favor. For instance, my husband and I found a purse we thought would be a great souvenir for our daughter. We asked the price and began bargaining. When the vendor wouldn’t budge, I said to my husband, “It’s a lovely purse, but I think she would like that bracelet we saw earlier and it’s in our budget. What do you think?” Hubby agreed and after thanking the vendor for his time, the price suddenly came down.

9. DO walk away. If the price isn’t budging and your fair offer isn’t being accepted, walk away. Usually, the vendor will suddenly become more willing to negotiate. If they do let you go, try stopping again just before the market closes and say, “I know the market is closing and we are headed out, but we thought we’d stop by to see if you were willing to take the XX for that bag?” This technique has score most of my best deals.

10. DON’T increase your price more than twice. If you are constantly going up, even by small increments, the vendor knows you are willing to budge easily. Your second offer should be a slightly more generous increase than your third and final offer.