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Tips for stress-free haggling?

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Darwin, Australia
14 posts
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Tips for stress-free haggling?

Very excited to be heading to Penang soon for 2week holiday with partner and nearly 3 y.o daughter. However one thing I get a bit stressed about is haggling for things - E.g. taxis and buying things in markets.

There are two aspects (1) I have very little idea what a reasonable price for things are - say a tshirt, batik print , DVD or small craft item or books or taxi and (2) I'm not sure of how to do it - ie cheery happy or intensely interested in the haggle, complimentary to the vendor , feigning disinterest ???? I would like to feel less awkward about it ( yes typical westerner!)

How do you go about it?

my partner is even worse than me and if it's left up to him he just shrugs and says 'okay' and hands the money over ( and then complains about it later). So I usually have to step in to take the lead - is it usual or not unusual for the woman to do the bargaining?

Anyway if you can provide any advice or useful tips I'd be very grateful. I am going to try to be more relaxed about the whole thing. I'd like to experience it as an enjoyable part of the travel experience but I need a few pointers.

Thanks v much in advance.

Johor Bahru...
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982 posts
60 reviews
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11. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

My tactic would be to try for a 3 decremental reduction off the initial price offered, be it a big or small reduction, from the sellers mouth. In Bali and Bandung the price for some items from 200k Rupiah to 150k then 100- 120 and the 3rd decrement to around 60-80k. And watch the body language of the seller :-). Maybe stop at 2 decrements for that stress-free buy.

perth
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394 posts
5 reviews
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12. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

G'day Awang.Nope,never had any dramas.Never been to Vietnam either,although when I 20 years old the Australian government entered me and a few thousand others into a ballot to send there.

Happy trails.

Paris, France
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750 posts
68 reviews
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13. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

Hi Julie,

it just takes a bit of practice..and once you do it will give you a bit more confidence and it is quite fun once you get the hang of it. When we were in penang I never felt too pressured as long as once you start haggling you commit to buy - or walk away if not interested, as they are trying to make a living for themselves too.

Good luck and enjoy

Angela

Adelaide, Australia
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68 posts
27 reviews
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14. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

Just came back and found the haggling process here alot easier than in Thailand, You dont get hassled as much and if they dont like your price they just let you go. No stress at all.

Bought dvd's at 4 ringett, Cd's were the same, t shirts at 20 ringett and sunglasses at 10 ringett. Bags were dearer and I didnt barter on those as I would prefer a real one but I did get cosmetic bags at about 20 ringett. The night markkets at Batu Ferringhi is a perfet place for haggle for goods and as the others say above, offer about half and you can't go wrong. Have fun!

15. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

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Newcastle, Australia
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84 posts
22 reviews
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16. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

Hi Julia,

My tip is don't haggle unless you are serious in buying - that's not fair. i have haggled many times and if you think the price is fair ( and trust me they will always sell to make a profit) I have found that if I buy just one thing and i want to buy more , come back later and tell the hawker that you will come back, ask for a business card if they have one and go back to that person. They will generally remember you and give you a good price on the second time. Trust me they do remember. But certainly on the first time round you'll find that what is sold in one place will almost be certainly be sold at another and they know about the competition. It is fun though. Compare it to what you what you pay at home, but remember it is not always the authentic product " Same same but different" Have fun!!!!

Darwin, Australia
14 posts
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17. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

Thanks AHisham -good advice and I particularly like yr advice about watching body language of the seller. Good tip!

Darwin, Australia
14 posts
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18. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

Thanks to Angela, Rebecca and Phil. All good advice - altogether I'm now feeling much more confident. Such helpful advice from everyone!

Brisbane, Australia
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375 posts
113 reviews
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19. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

The other thing to remember in the back of your mind is that they will not sell it to you if they are not going to make money off it - no matter the theatrics they will still be making money off you.

I will often not even start the process until they give me a realistic starting price - eg. a certain branded bracelet they started at a crazy 150MYR - my wife (champion haggler) looked at him and said "come on, I am not even going to acknowledge that, whats your real price?" - and he laughed and went to 90MYR - to which we paid 45MYR in the end.

I also try to avoid the guys who are too annoying, instead I go to the ones who are happy to let me browse until I am ready to buy, they always are more friendly and we end up having a great time.

Plus the two-man routine works well - my wife haggles looks at me standing outside - I shake my head, she trys to convince the shop owner to give her a better price to make me happy!

Enjoy it and accept don't get angry or frustrated.

20. Re: Tips for stress-free haggling?

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