I'd like to hear people's tips and advice on haggling in Thailand, or anywhere. I hate doing it!
#1 breccan has been a member since 17/6/2006. Posts: 5
I don't particularly enjoy bargaining either, but it is part of the culture and it can even be fun if you approach it in a light-hearted way. First off, have a solid idea of what you do and don't want to buy, and how much you'd be willing to pay for something. Stop at a few different stalls offering similar goods to get a ballpark idea of what prices are for certain items. Smile and say thank you when leaving, even if you didn't see anything that interested you. When you are ready to buy, pick one of the stalls or shops that you liked on your survey stops, and above all, alwasys keep it friendly.
If someone offers you a ridiculously high price, just smile, say thanks, and walk away. On the other side of that, try not to offend the seller by making an offer that is way too low. Some folks say a good rule is halfing the initial asking price. That's not a bad general rule, but use your judgement there too.
For me, I always feel like it is a good bargain when I can buy something for less than I was willing to pay. The seller usually makes a nice profit too, meaning everyone wins. Don't ever let it get personal or degenerate into an arguement. There is always another shop or stall around the corner selling what you want too.
Buying more than just one item at a stall or shop is the quickest way to get a substantial discount. They are looking to make a profit on your visit, not necessarily per item, so ask for bulk discounts on as few as two items.
Finally, don't let just a few baht or whatever be the difference between making a purchase or not. I've seen lots of folks ruin their evening trying to get an item for just a little less. Perhaps you can get a better price, but don't let getting the absolute rock bottom price be your goal. Make your goal finding great things that you'll treasure for years, and having fun while doing it.
Does that help at all? Hopefully others will comment here too. Cheers.
Thanks for the advice. That's kind of the game I was playing last time. It gets exhausting! Does knowing a few phrases in Thai (beyond thank you) help to get a better deal? I'm definately not out to try to rip anyone off, but I know some people are just really good at bargaining and I wonder what "tactics" they use? I know a guy who actually does this at home (Canada) with every large purchase he makes. He walks directly into a store, asks to speak with the manager and asks him how much he or she will sell a particular item to HIM for. Apparently, it almost ALWAYS works and he gets great deals.
#3 breccan has been a member since 17/6/2006. Posts: 5
I enjoy bargaining when I'm buying interesting things that I really want, but hate it when I'm buying generic stuff -- t-shirts, sandals etc -- stuff that I have a good idea what a reasonable price is.
As exacto says, it s supposed to be fun, and the point of bargaining is to get a price both parties are happy with not to grind every last baht out of the seller.
That being said I've wandered up to a t-shirt stall and been quoted 800B only to walk away with it 5 minutes later for 150B. How?
1) Be the first customer of the day
2) Do you research before hand to get a range of prices, or better still know the "real" price of the item
3) Smile and laugh a lot
4) Admit to having seen the item elsewhere for a fraction of the price
5) Use the local language -- do the entire process from greeting, through to asking how much something is, to all the number work -- in Thai -- there are not many phrases you need to know to pull this off.
But at the end of the day, remember you're supposed to be having fun!
#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,798
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yeah great advice here. Importance of a smile is NOT to be underestimated in Thailand.
Also important to always keep your cool. Never to get frustrated. Some of these shopkeepers in the tourist areas tends to get a little rude..hoping for farangs to show his frustration and so lose face.
#6 tan1415 has been a member since 3/7/2006. Posts: 7
When in Thailand you dont need to bargin really. All you need to do is ask how much and then what ever the price smile and slowly walk away. The price will go down 3 times from 500 to 150 before you know it! ;) I do this every day and it never fails.
#7 jon_mak has been a member since 8/4/2006. Posts: 10