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How to haggle like a pro

17 January 2016

Planning on doing some shopping while you're in Bali? In shops and market stalls, where there are no fixed prices, bargaining is expected. Here are some tips on how to haggle like a pro!

• Don't haggle on your first day
Before you start, spend time familiarising yourself with local prices.

• Go shopping on your own
If you’re accompanied by a guide or a driver, the price will automatically go up to include his commission.

• Determine how much you want to pay
Haggling is the accepted and expected method of finding a compromise between the wishful thinking of the seller and the buyer. Before you begin, determine the item's value to you.

• Let the vendor open the bargaining
Most sellers are well aware of the fact that whoever makes the first offer is at a disadvantage.

• Go low
It's always difficult to know where to start the bidding, but remember — the lower your starting offer, the lower your final price will be.

• Curb your enthusiasm
If the vendor knows that you really, really want something, it will be harder to bargain on its price.

• Hold your ground during the haggle
The back-and-forth in haggling is crucial. Bear in mind that vendors will often use a variety of tactics to goad you into paying a higher price.

• Don’t negotiate for any item that you aren’t ready to buy
As soon as you ask the price, the game is on. If a vendor accepts your price (or vice versa), you must buy the item. Don't keep bargaining once the deal is agreed upon, it’s extremely bad manners.

• Ask for a deal on multiple items
A vendor will often give you a better price if you buy more than one item.

• Don't hurry
Bargaining is rarely rushed. Bid carefully.

• The first sale of the day is lucky
The Balinese believe that clinching a deal first thing in the morning will bring them good luck for the rest of the day. If they tell you they haven’t sold anything yet, then they are more likely to sell you something for a price lower than usual.

• Be friendly and maintain a sense of humour
You'll get a better bargain if you're on friendly terms with the seller, so make sure you smile, laugh, and enjoy the haggling process.

• Be prepared to walk away
Being prepared to walk away from an item is at the core of every good haggler's heart. Bear in mind that most souvenirs are available in multiple places in the same small area. That last amount the vendor shouts out as you turn the corner is often the best price you'll get.

• If you do walk away, never go back
So you didn't get the price you wanted and you walked away. Good for you! The next step is to never go back. In fact, don't even look over your shoulder. The moment you do, the vendor will know that you're still wanting that item, which means you'll ultimately pay premium price if you ever set foot in that store again.

• What if the price is right?
There is nothing wrong with paying the full price if it’s OK with you. The Balinese work hard for their money, and most of them could sure use the extra profit.

Happy haggling!

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