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Difference between revisions of "Talk:How to haggle"

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I'm interested in haggling. One thing I wonder about is where it's actually a local practice, and where it's been introduced because tourists expect to bargain for everything. --[[User:Evan|Evan]] 07:07, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
 
I'm interested in haggling. One thing I wonder about is where it's actually a local practice, and where it's been introduced because tourists expect to bargain for everything. --[[User:Evan|Evan]] 07:07, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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: Bargaining is or was the default mode everywhere -- fixed prices were regarded as a wild and dangerous innovation when first introduced.  Tourists are mostly responsible for opportunistic price-gouging, like tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand asking for silly prices when they see a ''farang'' climb on board when they'd never get away with this if it was a local. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 07:29, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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::I find that hard to swallow; I'd be interested to see some backup documentation on that. I mean, in a world with so much sexual, linguistic, religious, cultural, and artistic variation, doesn't it seem to stretch credulity that the ''retail'' experience is '''identical''' from Timbuktu to Tibet? It seems more likely to me that Westerners have brought their expectation of haggling everywhere they visit. "We" all know that "they" haggle over prices, so we carry this model around with us everywhere we travel, and we fall into the bargaining behavior everywhere we go.
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::Haggling is something I see a lot more often between tourists and locals than between locals themselves. I don't think it makes a lot of sense for everyday purchases, really -- who has the time to bargain over a loaf of bread and an apple every day of the year?
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:::Yes, commodities like bread and apples will usually have a standard 'local price'.  However, access to this depends on your relationship with the merchant, and if it's your first visit to the apple merchant and you have bulging stacks of zorkmids falling from your pockets then of course you will be charged what the merchant figures you can bear.  Note that this is not a question of local vs foreigner, but known local vs unknown stranger; a rich local guy pulling up in his Rolls will also be charged a higher price. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 21:26, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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::I guess the main thing I want to see is that we're not making excessive assumptions in this article. The "they're not like us" mentality is really worrisome to me, and I'd like to make sure we're not perpetuating myths. --[[User:Evan|Evan]] 16:48, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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:::Haggling is often the only way to do things. In England we have shops that sell stuff to us, so there's only a few sellers, and a lot of buyers, so fixed prices make sense. In many countries, most people sell stuff, or a far greater proportion do than in England. This means there can't be easily fixed prices, as each sale is more of a one-off. This mainly only applies for expensive things though. "we fall into the bargaining behavior everywhere we go" this doesn't make sense: Either you accept the first price they say, or you offer a lower one. If they don't budge then you can't haggle, if they do then you can. It's not being imposed on them.
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:::Also on your User page it says you travel around North America (where the average person in the street rarely sells anything), have you been to Timbuktu or Tibet? [[User:Lionfish|Lionfish]] 22:38, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)
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::::Yes, I've been to lots of places where tourists haggle with locals (Mexico, Turkey, Southeast Asia), and I'm well aware that it's a common tourist practice. But I've been to very few places where I've seen locals haggle with other locals. I think the "you have to bargain there" myth is self-perpetuating -- if tourists want to bargain, local merchants will learn to do so to deal with their customers. --[[User:Evan|Evan]] 00:26, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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:::::Heh, sorry I ranted last time :P I guess I see your point. It's difficult, when a town has been flooded by tourists for years, to buy things 'normally'.
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:Just agreeing with [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]], bargaining is the 'norm' across the world, it is only a few Western countries that have adopted fixed prices. I'd like to point out that in countries worse of than your own, you will usually end up paying slightly higher than a local, however hard you haggle. This might seem unfair, but remember that you can earn considerably more than them: In Morocco the average wage is $2/day.
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:Embarrasing story: On the way out of Morocco, at Tangier, we were trying to get a taxi from the train station to the town centre. None of the taxi drivers were using the meter, and they were offering way over-the-odds for the ride (I think about 30 dh = £2). We decided to walk, as it was only a couple of miles... >_<  Moral: You have to know when to stop haggling and say 'ok' - especially when it's over tiny things. (To recover a bit of my dignity: In other cases saying 'no' and finding an alternative solution, even if you're just bluffing, will usually make the price drop like a stone: The hotel we stayed in in Fez ended up being considerably cheaper than our guide book said it was after a bit of bluffing). [[User:Lionfish|Lionfish]] 16:00, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)
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: Its more that they will bargain more and in more deals with non locals. In all countries you bargain over some things: used cars, insurance, houses, horses, stuff on ebay. Even airline tickets are not sold at a fixed price, I bought a Lufthansa ticket at an online agent for half of what Lufthansa asked on their homepage. At E.g. the Cairo bazaar most vendors expect some bargaining, but not all, a few actually have pricelist in arabic numbers and you cannot get a better deal unless you buy a lot.  Gold jewelry are sold for a fixed price per gram.
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You will see tourists sitting for half an hour drinking tea bargaining over a scarf. Locals do not do that (for cheap things). Its just a couple of offers each way and a deal is done in seconds. -- [[User:Elgaard|elgaard]] 15:47, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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:Agreed. In Morocco we never haggled for food or water, and in general we didn't for taxis (pestering the driver to turn the metre on, or agreeing in advance a price IS a good idea though!!!!!). But for an expensive (ish) rug my gf bought we spent quite a while haggling.[[User:Lionfish|Lionfish]] 22:38, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)
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:: Yes rugs are individual and it is hard to know what it is worth. And if you have the time it can  be fun to spend some time haggling, drinking tea and discussing. I once spend a whole afternoon in Kayseri buying  a carpet. At some point I had to wait for something and the owner had a nephew show me town. -- [[User:Elgaard|elgaard]] 18:29, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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==Arabic numbers==
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"If you are in a country that use arabic numbers then learn them."
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I thought that the arabic numbers were 1,2,3,...  What is meant by this?  -- [[User:Kurkoski|Kurkoski]] 02:19, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)
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: See [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numbers].  Basically, the familiar 123 is Western Arabic, but most modern-day Arab countries use Eastern Arabic numbers. [[User:203.117.95.42|203.117.95.42]] 02:23, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)
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:: Thanks for the clarification, and the link.  [[User:Kurkoski|Kurkoski]] 12:22, 3 Jun 2005 (EDT)
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== Marrakech edition should be merged here? ==
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I found a dedicated [[Marrakech#Bargaining|Bargaining]] section under [[Marrakech]]--and believe most part of it should be merged in here. I am not strong enough in the subject to perform educated merge--hopefully someone will plunge forward with it. --[[User:DenisYurkin|DenisYurkin]] 17:38, 10 November 2006 (EST)

Latest revision as of 17:43, 25 June 2009

I'm interested in haggling. One thing I wonder about is where it's actually a local practice, and where it's been introduced because tourists expect to bargain for everything. --Evan 07:07, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Bargaining is or was the default mode everywhere -- fixed prices were regarded as a wild and dangerous innovation when first introduced. Tourists are mostly responsible for opportunistic price-gouging, like tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand asking for silly prices when they see a farang climb on board when they'd never get away with this if it was a local. Jpatokal 07:29, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I find that hard to swallow; I'd be interested to see some backup documentation on that. I mean, in a world with so much sexual, linguistic, religious, cultural, and artistic variation, doesn't it seem to stretch credulity that the retail experience is identical from Timbuktu to Tibet? It seems more likely to me that Westerners have brought their expectation of haggling everywhere they visit. "We" all know that "they" haggle over prices, so we carry this model around with us everywhere we travel, and we fall into the bargaining behavior everywhere we go.
Haggling is something I see a lot more often between tourists and locals than between locals themselves. I don't think it makes a lot of sense for everyday purchases, really -- who has the time to bargain over a loaf of bread and an apple every day of the year?
Yes, commodities like bread and apples will usually have a standard 'local price'. However, access to this depends on your relationship with the merchant, and if it's your first visit to the apple merchant and you have bulging stacks of zorkmids falling from your pockets then of course you will be charged what the merchant figures you can bear. Note that this is not a question of local vs foreigner, but known local vs unknown stranger; a rich local guy pulling up in his Rolls will also be charged a higher price. Jpatokal 21:26, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I guess the main thing I want to see is that we're not making excessive assumptions in this article. The "they're not like us" mentality is really worrisome to me, and I'd like to make sure we're not perpetuating myths. --Evan 16:48, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Haggling is often the only way to do things. In England we have shops that sell stuff to us, so there's only a few sellers, and a lot of buyers, so fixed prices make sense. In many countries, most people sell stuff, or a far greater proportion do than in England. This means there can't be easily fixed prices, as each sale is more of a one-off. This mainly only applies for expensive things though. "we fall into the bargaining behavior everywhere we go" this doesn't make sense: Either you accept the first price they say, or you offer a lower one. If they don't budge then you can't haggle, if they do then you can. It's not being imposed on them.
Also on your User page it says you travel around North America (where the average person in the street rarely sells anything), have you been to Timbuktu or Tibet? Lionfish 22:38, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)
Yes, I've been to lots of places where tourists haggle with locals (Mexico, Turkey, Southeast Asia), and I'm well aware that it's a common tourist practice. But I've been to very few places where I've seen locals haggle with other locals. I think the "you have to bargain there" myth is self-perpetuating -- if tourists want to bargain, local merchants will learn to do so to deal with their customers. --Evan 00:26, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Heh, sorry I ranted last time :P I guess I see your point. It's difficult, when a town has been flooded by tourists for years, to buy things 'normally'.
Just agreeing with Jpatokal, bargaining is the 'norm' across the world, it is only a few Western countries that have adopted fixed prices. I'd like to point out that in countries worse of than your own, you will usually end up paying slightly higher than a local, however hard you haggle. This might seem unfair, but remember that you can earn considerably more than them: In Morocco the average wage is $2/day.
Embarrasing story: On the way out of Morocco, at Tangier, we were trying to get a taxi from the train station to the town centre. None of the taxi drivers were using the meter, and they were offering way over-the-odds for the ride (I think about 30 dh = £2). We decided to walk, as it was only a couple of miles... >_< Moral: You have to know when to stop haggling and say 'ok' - especially when it's over tiny things. (To recover a bit of my dignity: In other cases saying 'no' and finding an alternative solution, even if you're just bluffing, will usually make the price drop like a stone: The hotel we stayed in in Fez ended up being considerably cheaper than our guide book said it was after a bit of bluffing). Lionfish 16:00, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)
Its more that they will bargain more and in more deals with non locals. In all countries you bargain over some things: used cars, insurance, houses, horses, stuff on ebay. Even airline tickets are not sold at a fixed price, I bought a Lufthansa ticket at an online agent for half of what Lufthansa asked on their homepage. At E.g. the Cairo bazaar most vendors expect some bargaining, but not all, a few actually have pricelist in arabic numbers and you cannot get a better deal unless you buy a lot. Gold jewelry are sold for a fixed price per gram.

You will see tourists sitting for half an hour drinking tea bargaining over a scarf. Locals do not do that (for cheap things). Its just a couple of offers each way and a deal is done in seconds. -- elgaard 15:47, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Agreed. In Morocco we never haggled for food or water, and in general we didn't for taxis (pestering the driver to turn the metre on, or agreeing in advance a price IS a good idea though!!!!!). But for an expensive (ish) rug my gf bought we spent quite a while haggling.Lionfish 22:38, 5 Apr 2005 (BST)
Yes rugs are individual and it is hard to know what it is worth. And if you have the time it can be fun to spend some time haggling, drinking tea and discussing. I once spend a whole afternoon in Kayseri buying a carpet. At some point I had to wait for something and the owner had a nephew show me town. -- elgaard 18:29, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)


Arabic numbers[edit]

"If you are in a country that use arabic numbers then learn them."

I thought that the arabic numbers were 1,2,3,... What is meant by this? -- Kurkoski 02:19, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)

See [1]. Basically, the familiar 123 is Western Arabic, but most modern-day Arab countries use Eastern Arabic numbers. 203.117.95.42 02:23, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Thanks for the clarification, and the link. Kurkoski 12:22, 3 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Marrakech edition should be merged here?[edit]

I found a dedicated Bargaining section under Marrakech--and believe most part of it should be merged in here. I am not strong enough in the subject to perform educated merge--hopefully someone will plunge forward with it. --DenisYurkin 17:38, 10 November 2006 (EST)

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