We struggled with this when we first started traveling.
Many years ago I was traveling with my cousin and hoping to buy an embroidered bag in Mexico for $10 similar to a $25 one I had seen in the US. We crossed the border, found the bag at a market, and asked “How Much?” She replied “Ten US Dollars.” I said, “OK“. My cousin pulled me out to tell me to negotiate.
Now we always negotiate everything in open markets. Depending on the country our starting price is between 5% – 80% of their initial request. How did we know where to start? We asked people we trust. We never ask our guide as he is usually getting a cut of the sale price.
In Morocco we purchased two carpets each for about 10% of the initial price.
Did you notice the second half of today’s title:
Stay Focused on Your Treasure
We were warned when carpet shopping in Morocco or Turkey to never let our carpet out of our site once we agreed upon the price. So, we were careful:
We negotiated. We didn’t come to an agreement. Our guide said, “Let’s Go” (the set up). We walked out. The proprietor followed, rug folded in hand suddenly agreeing to our price. We followed him back in, watched him wrap it, and didn’t open it until back in New Zealand. We were shocked to find a different rug. We had blinked for a moment as we walked out when we thought negotiation was over.
Don’t get me wrong, I think most people are honest.
Here are our carpet buying tips which we ignored on our second carpet purchase: Sign the back of the rug you have purchased and then take a photo with your rug and your salesperson.
More Tips to Negotiate Everything
- Locally owned Hotels, B&Bs, etc, will usually give you a better price if you ask. When they can’t lower the price, they will often include free internet or breakfast. This backfired on us once when there were no vacant hotels for 100kms.
- Retail stores will often negotiate on bigger ticket items, or lots of smaller ones.
- Restaurants – In areas where there are lots of restaurants they will often make an offer of a free drink or dessert. We once had two “bidding” for us each dropping the price if we selected them.
- Cruises – The closer it is to sailing date, the less you will pay. We booked a 12 night Mediterranean Cruise 6 days before sailing for 74% off the listed price.
- Taxis: negotiate the price before you get in and be sure it includes your luggage.
- Laundry – Again, get the price in advance. I was once charged a flat rate per piece – so a pair of jeans was the same as each sock.
All photos ©Rhonda Albom 2011-2012. All rights Reserved.
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