Tips for successful haggling in the marketplace

Rick Steves, an authority on European travel believes that “in much of the Mediterranean world, the price tag is only an excuse to argue.” That’s possibly true for Africa as well – especially when buying at flea markets and local craft shops. So, if you love shopping, you can’t resist a good deal and you have a passion for collecting memoirs from your travels then the art of haggling is one you must master. Here are some tips to remember when approaching vendors in the local markets and to get the best deal you can.

Be prepared

Walk through the market first and see what you can get where. Ask for prices and get an idea for where you can get the item cheapest before the haggling process begins.

Be polite and charming

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Be friendly and greet the vendor. Engage in some chit-chat about the day, the weather or the crafts. If you conclude the sale, thank the vendor. If you form a relationship you might get a better deal on other items in the future.

Get your timing right

Some experts on haggling agree that the end of the day is better to get a good deal since the vendor might me desperate to do some last-minute sales before closing.

What do you want to pay for the item

You can’t haggle for a good price on an item if you don’t know what you’re willing to pay for it. Some things may be more valuable to you than for someone else. It’s important to know the real value before you start haggling. If you start off too low, you might insult the vendor or even show that you don’t know how to haggle and take advantage of that. Finally, don’t start haggling if you aren’t serious about making a purchase.

Let the fun begin!

Start the bargaining process by asking the shop keeper “Is this your best price?” and look really shocked at the initial price. After a while, if you can’t reach a good price, walk away. If he can offer you a better price he’ll call you. If not, then you’ve saved some money and you can possibly still get it elsewhere.

Don’t look desperate

If the vendor sees that you really want the item, there is no going down on the price. Play it cool.

Take your time and have fun

It’s not a quick process and it can go to and throw for a while. Have fun with it and don’t worry too much if you can’t close the sale. Tomorrow’s another day and you can try your luck elsewhere.