Thursday, March 24, 2011

The art of haggling

Many people I know are terribly ashamed of haggling. I’m not. I love the thrilling sensation of negotiation, the back-and-forth of communication, the exchange of power and the possibility that, at the end of the battle, I might actually walk away with a good deal.

Most places, especially the larger establishments, won’t really give you room to negotiate. There is a fixed price and that’s that. But others, believe it or not, are willing to accept a counter offer.

Keen to try? The shops located at the smaller backstreets of Abu Dhabi and the souks in Dubai are a great way to practice the art of haggling.

I was just there myself with a friend who was visiting from Brazil. You won’t believe the great buys we were able to pull off! Hand spun and woven pashmina shawls went from AED 45 to AED 30, hand embroidered sandals went from AED 130 to AED 100 and an embellished ottoman case went from AED 150 to AED 50.

My friend and my husband were terribly embarrassed, uncomfortable and mortified, feeling awful for the fact that I was trying to get things for half the asking price. But, at the end of our very successful afternoon, they finally understood that haggling is necessary, especially at the souks.

A few tips for the haggling beginners:

- Set an overall budget to spend
There are many interesting things at these little stores and souks and it is easy to get carried away. So, only take with you the amount you are willing to spend.
- Define a target price for every item you want to buy
Before heading out, do some research on how much would be a good price for the items you want. It takes two to negotiate and your opposition might be in a better position if you simply show up making wild offers without previous information.
- Carry small notes with you
If the seller wants AED 30, you offer AED 10 and give him AED 20 expecting change, you might lose the battle. So, don’t show up with large bills and no change. Just show him the money you want him to see – nothing more.
- Look around without too much enthusiasm
If you show excitement and that huge grin appears on your face you are probably doomed. Show the vendor you are ready to walk out the door empty handed if you don’t get the price you want. Not that you are willing to sell your soul to have that beautiful tunic…

For more information on where to try all the above techniques:

1 comment:

  1. Adorei!!Minha sapatilha tá fazendo um super sucesso por aqui!!!
    Bjss Marina