WHEN I lived in the Middle East, haggling was part and parcel of everyday shopping.
Walking into a store or market and paying the full whack for items was unheard of! For a European it did take some getting used too bargaining, but after a little practice and sly observation of how the professionals did it, I gradually learned how to seriously slash my shopping bills. And often, by up to as much as 40 per cent.
Spain might not be quite the Middle East, but with its strong Moorish history, it’s not far off, and anyway, there’s never any harm in trying to get the best price possible.
For some people haggling comes easy, for others it’s a tricky talent to master. Either way, by following a few easy tips it’s possible for all of us to give even the best salesman in Cairo a run for his money. And here’s how:
Wait for the tumbleweed: If a shop is buzzing with customers and a salesperson is busy, it’s not the best moment to practice your haggling skills. Salespeople are not going to reduce their prices when the place is jammed.
Go during quiet times, such as early mornings, midweek. Also, haggling with an independent retailer, where you can speak directly to the owner, is a better bet than a chain, as there’s more leeway.
Go armed: Nowadays online stores offer very competitive prices, but if you don’t want to purchase online, there may be a way to get web prices on the high street.
Simply printout a webpage showing the online price for an item and take it to your local store. If pushed, or times are tough, your local salesperson may match the price.
Walk away: If you aren’t getting every far with your haggling skills, don’t give in a cough up full price. Walk away, and remember, you can always pay full price elsewhere.
Silent is golden: The real pros at haggling know when to zip-up and be quiet. As negotiations come to a close, a classic salesman technique is staying silent.
They want you to accept the price just to fill the awkward silence. Make them fill it with a cheaper offer.