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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Hassel of the Haggle

Traveling on the tourist track requires you to deal with haggling, a national pastime in most countries.

I'm not good at bargaining at all. In the United States, everyone pays the same price, which is clearly posted or marked on the product. But in other countries, haggling is a kind of sport. People absolutely love it. They especially enjoy engaging foreigners in a game of bartering because they know they are much more skilled than us.

After several days of getting taken by every shop owner & taxi driver in Bangkok, I was annoyed & even exasperated. I just wanted to pay the going price without having to negotiate it. I'm definitely not a worthy sparring partner. I know I will lose the game every time.

1 comment:

Chris said...

It's definitely a pain, although I confess I enjoy it too sometimes. But the trick is to act like you don't! ;P The only good thing about haggling communities is that, although people will often ACT like they're angry, employing the system is basically an open admission that "it's strictly business". Good sellers will tell you they're giving you friend prices and schmooze you, but you know you're getting somewhere when they get angry and steadfastly refuse. Then you just walk away. If they chase after you, you know your price is probably acceptable, even if they only chase you to offer a compromise price. It's actually by far the easiest to practice in a somewhat touristy place, where you know everyone is haggling, and where several vendors are selling the same things (but preferably a large enough market to limit collusion). Anyway, it's not for everybody, but if you do a good job sometime, you'll probably get a compliment, and... this is what I'm a sucker for... ;)