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Haggle in Hong Kong and Shenzhen like a Pro

 2017-05-30    Tilda    Shopping    Hong Kong    2170  

New to haggling? Does the thought of asking for a bargain make you blush, feel hot, and do your palms start to sweat, and you just wish the whole world worked on fixed prices? Don’t panic. You just haven’t discovered the strange joys of haggling…just yet. In many parts of the world, bargaining is expected and makes your regular shopping trip feel a little less transactional and a bit more human. Ditch the self-checkout aisles of your supermarkets and haggle in the markets of Hong Kong and Shenzhen like a pro with these tips.


Image Credit: publicdomainpictures

1.  Do not look over-eager

Haggling is a psychological art-form and playing hard to get, is a trick that often works. No matter how much you want that Bruce Lee T-Shirt, try your best to conceal your excitement, although you want to show a little interest as well. When you fawn too much over whatever it is you want to buy, the vendor knows that you will cave in a lot quicker, so hiding your enthusiasm is key to not be quoted a ridiculous price.

Think of this in the shoes of the vendor. How likely are you to give an irresistible offer to somebody squeals “Oh my God I MUST have this!”?

2.  Start at a much lower price and work your way up


Image Credit: Flickr

In markets, you can go as low as half of the quoted price and then work your way to a middle ground. Let’s say you want a belt for $10, your starting amount could be $7 before you settle amicably on $10. In some cases, starting on half is way too low and in some places, it is completely acceptable. As you’re a new visitor to the city, the only way to sharpen your haggling skills is not to be ashamed to ask. After all, the worst thing that could happen is that you get chased away. But hey, haven’t we learned how to deal with rejections already?

3. Don’t reveal that you are buying more right at the start


Image Credit: Pixabay

Vendors would often tell you that you can get a discount if you buy more, and even if they don’t tell you, you should know that that’s the implicit rule of bargaining. Now, let’s say you want to buy three t-shirts. When you ask for the price, begin with the price of one t-shirt and work out a bargain on that one piece to a lower price that you are close to being satisfied with. Then, you drop a sweet offer by saying that you will buy two or three pieces. Most likely, this immediately gives you more bargaining power and the unit price goes down.

Adding this offer at the end gives you more mileage than it does right at the beginning because the vendor would already have given you some discounts on the first piece.

4.  Be nice but firm

You want to haggle, you don’t want to be mean and rude. Chatting up the vendor in a friendly and calm manner doesn’t hurt, and besides, you’re not negotiating a $5 million deal with jobs and lives at stake. However, when it comes down to the actual bargaining, stand your ground firmly with a smile, so you don’t appear to be an “easy” customer.

Haggling is, ultimately, a fun and competitive game of how many dollars you can save. Being playful can make this an enjoyable and fun process where you both walk away with a good deal. 

5.  Throw in the little freebies

Depending on the kind of shop you’re in, and what you want, you can always opt for having little freebies thrown in your deal if the vendor is very stubborn about the price. Usually, vendors don’t mind including some smaller items that aren’t that profitable, but these may be items that you want or can give away as souvenirs. For example, you can ask for a pair of inexpensive earrings if you are buying a couple of necklaces, or a miniature figurine or two.

6. Don’t be afraid to walk away


Image Credit: Pixabay

Theresa May could just be right on this one when she says a no deal is better than a bad deal for Brexit.  You may think that if you don’t buy it now, you’d never see that again and regret for the rest of your life.  However, in many markets, there are many vendors selling the similar items and buying in the first 15 minutes of your shopping may have you regretting when you find better prices next door.  Unless you’re looking at art or antique furniture, take the risk and walk away.  You’ll likely be chased down with a good deal, or you may simply return to the shop later.

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