Monday, February 13, 2006

How to bargain for success

Bargaining, haggling, discussing prices - its a way of life here but sometimes hard to know what is a fair price.

I have been complimented on my good bargaining skills by several vendors here so I guess I have learnt a few things.

I do know that no one will sell an item for less than they paid for it so I feel its fair to "discuss the price". I don't think that its fair to just bargain for the fun of it without any intention of buying so I try not to get into a discussion unless have some plans to make the purchase as long as the price is right.

I usually try to purchase "in bulk" I will ask "What is your best price" for one item, then having got a response I pick up several items and offer a price that works out to about half the price asked for. This seems to work quite well, so if for example I am told $2 for one item, I pick up 5 items that are similar and offer $5. Here they often ask for a bit more as "lucky money" and I can choose to say yes or no.

Sometimes the will look in amazement and say "oh no" and then I will say thank you and start to walk away. Usually they will quickly some after me and say OK. The other day a delightful little old lady, wrinkled as a brown walnut, followed me and actually took me gently by the hand and led me back to her stall. We were both giggling like a couple of school girls by the time we got there and how could I not buy from her after that?

When I had completed my purchases with her, she gave me a little carved jade elephant that now hangs on a chain around my neck, along with my rose quartz and my amethyst ball. A gentle reminder of how nice the Thai people are.

Bargaining is fun for the seller and, on the odd occasion that I felt the price was so little that I do not try and bargain, there is almost a look of disappointment on the face of the vendor

So did I get a lot of bargains - well I think I did - now if only I can bargain for more baggage allowance at the airport!

 

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