Market Guide

Haggling – a how to guide

The fine art of haggling has dwindled to the point where many people are afraid to even try negotiating on the price of an item. If the thought of haggling makes you uncomfortable or nervous, then you don’t have to try it; but you’ll be missing out on a fun and integral part of market shopping if you don’t.

Most Take 2 Markets’ sellers sell their own gear, sometimes one-offs, which are priced individually, according to their condition, desirability and original cost.

A market seller always has the power to adjust the prices and many are happy to do so if you ask in the right way. After all, sellers want you to enjoy shopping with them, to recommend their stall to your friends, and for you to shop with them again.

I’ve seen some appalling examples of haggling at the markets. For example a woman picked up a pair of decent sunglasses which were $5 and she asked if she could have them for $3. I have a personal policy that I don’t haggle for items under $10. Don’t insult a stallholder by offering to pay half price for an item. You are at Take 2 Markets, not Bali.

If you want to give haggling a go, here are some tips on how to do it successfully.

1. Be reasonable – sellers want happy customers, but they also need to make a profit. If you ask for an outrageous discount they will be justifiably annoyed and you will probably get no discount at all. A frock priced at $70 is more likely to get a discount than a $10 shirt.

2. Be polite – this is probably your rule when shopping anyway, but especially important if you are hoping to knock the prices down. Smiling and saying hello when you meet the stallholder is a great start. Don’t demand their attention if they are serving someone else before you, and if you have any negative comments about the stall or its stock, they’re best kept to yourself. If the stall has a “no discount” policy respect it. It is a bad seller who does this, but it’s a bad buyer who ignores it.

3. Use cash only – most stallholders are unable to accept credit card payments as they are individual sellers, but they will gladly accept cash. The smaller notes are best.

4. Bulk buy – the more items you buy the better your bargaining power. If you don’t plan to spend much money, take along a shopping partner and pool your purchases. Sellers are usually keen to help out customers who buy several things, perhaps by offering generous discounts or by throwing in free smaller items. If you only find one or two items that you want, but they are fairly expensive, ask what kind of a discount the seller can offer you if you spend over a certain amount.

5. Be discreet – If you ask for a discount in front of other customers, they might also expect a discount, so the seller may turn you down flat. If there is more than one seller at the stall, speak with one person at a time – it is easier to persuade one person than two.