How to pay YOUR Price at a Market or Bazaar

haggling to get your prize

How to pay your price at a market or bazar

One basic advice first:

It is important to know that ALL dealers have a PhD in psychology. They know everything about you even from a large distance. They will tell you were you are from, your name and your grandfathers shoe size just by looking at you. No kidding!

Here I’ll give you some tips that I learnt from my travels and from talking to locals!

It is a game for them as well

If you accept the proposed price you make them feel like an idiot – and you are an idiot yourself! Let them also have some fun and haggle!

Don’t ask for a price

We as travellers came to know that dealers usually double the price of what they generally want for an item – so we suggest half the price that is offered. Both sides then usually agree on a price somewhere in the middle.

But dealers on the other side happen to know that we know that and quadruple the price. Travellers then think it is still good value, half the price and agree on something in the middle. (We still end up paying about three times of what the desired item is worth to the dealer.)

Know what you want

Going to a bazaar or market and just browsing through the souvenirs and things will make you very, very vulnerable to the clever merchants. They will probably manage to sell you something you don't need at all – like pink panties for your hamster.

The trick is to know what you want – which isn't that easy (most of the time). But by passing by many shops you’ll get an idea.

Don’t let them give you stuff

A clever trick many dealers use today is that they hand you stuff and then won’t take it back – they actually cross their hands behind their backs. After about 15 seconds a psychological effect kicks in: As we hold the new item, we feel it and turn it around and it seems to us like we really, really need that or like to buy it for a friend as a gift.

Tip: Don’t let them give you anything, and if you still end up holding a bible in Japanese simply put it down and leave.

Know your price for the item

Let’s say you want to buy a brand-new original Rolex watch for your best friend. You have the picture of the watch in your head. Now think about a price that you are willing to pay. This is the price you are offering the dealer to pay him. If he doesn't accept you simply leave the shop.

The dealer then has two options: The first one is to let you go and the second one is to run after you and accept your offer. You know then that you offered him too much.

Don’t buy at the first shop

If the dealer doesn’t follow you – good for you. Because you are going to have some serious fun playing this game with the next merchant. If they keep being stubborn about the price simply add a little amount of money to see if your price was simply too little or the dealer too dumb to accept.

Have counted money ready

Don’t take out your purse and open it in front of the dealer. He will see that you have more money than you pretend to have and are willing to pay for said item. Have some money aside in your pockets and pay with it when you are ready.

Be direct

The best thing to do is the following:

  • Enter a shop
  • Tell the dealer that you want a pink elephant and pay 10€ for it.
  • Have the money ready
  • Put the money in his hands – the psychological effect kicks in (with money even faster than with other things)
  • Pay
  • Leave the shop with your new best friend – a pink elephant!

What are your tips and secret tricks haggling down to a reasonable price? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to Georg Roessler for inspiring me to write this post!

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  • Hi Vik,

    Good tips!

    I hate haggling. I avoid it, or if someone is super persistent, here’s what I do: walk away LOL.

    On our first trip to Bali my wife was looking for handbags. She asked a price for a cheap one. Guy said 26 USD. We said no thanks, and walked out….he asked 12, kept walking….then he said 2 USD, and we said SURE hahaha….we didn’t want to buy it at all and genuinely wanted to leave, but he wouldn’t let us until we paid nothing.

    Other than that, I shop where I see price tags. Lets money move more quickly between hands which is more prospering for all.


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  • The same principle applies to corrupt police officials
    trying to charge you for eg a traffic-violation.

    – Do have a minimum for each incident in your pocket.
    – Pretend to not have more in cash.
    – Dont show your purse.

    Optionally offer them to drive to their office so that their accountant will give you a receipt.

    hth G
    ps. btw the same principles apply to any official trying to get bribe from you; not only police

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