How to haggle on holiday

Get the best advice about your holiday in Luxor.

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How to haggle on holiday

Post by jewel » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:47 pm

Some tips here, although regular visitors to Luxor should be past masters at it!! :D
1. Never be afraid to start too low. Most merchants will offer you a price at twice the value of an object and would be surprised if you accepted it. A reasonable place to start is around one-third of an object's price.

2. Don't let the language barrier intimidate you. Merchants are so used to dealing with travellers that most will have a calculator at the ready to show you their offers and counter-offers. Odds are they'll probably speak a bit of English as well. Knowing some helpful phrases like ‘how much?', ‘too expensive' and ‘you've got yourself a deal!' will come in handy and be appreciated, as will knowing a few numbers in the local language.

3. Point out any flaws in the product being purchased. In Asian countries, image is everything and a slight nick on a leather wallet or a runaway thread on a skirt is worth pointing out.

4. Make sure you have small bills or coins on you. More often than not, merchants will be reluctant, or unable, to give change. Having small bills also means you won't get caught in a lie when you tell the merchant you simply can't go any higher because you only have 40 baht. Pulling out a 100 baht note isn't going to look good.

5. Having someone with you when you hit the markets is a good idea. Playing the good cop/bad cop can get you a better deal. When the merchant sees your friend telling you not to bother as the guy down the road offered the same tapestry at a lower price, watch in glee as the price quickly drops.

6. Don't take any guff. If someone is rude to you, walk away.

7. There are some morals to haggling. Once a price has been agreed on after a bit of wheeling and dealing, the item should be purchased. To walk away following an agreement is bad form. Haggling also shouldn't be done out of curiosity or sport. If you don't plan on buying something, don't get the ball rolling by offering prices to see how low they will go. If a merchant does anything you feel is dishonest or shady, hit the road.


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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by LivinginLuxor » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:06 am

Here in Luxor, the "going rate" would seem to be around 30% of the asking price. And remember, the haggling skills you learn here can be used in Britain on your return! I once got a £50 'manager's discretion' discount from Comet over a couple of small scratches on the side of a microwave.
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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by Chocolate Eclair » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:08 pm

About right I normally offer 30% or a little more if i need the goods badly, if not accepted I just walk away, and go to the next person. I just keep on doing it until i either get it at the price I think is fair, or I just do without...

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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by sue » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:44 pm

I totally agree with the skills being transferable to the UK, after a holiday in Luxor being in the swing of haggling I have had many bargains on our local market, like buy 2 dresses and get a fiver off, haggled over a carpet price and got it down from £60 to £40 everyone happy.

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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by BENNU » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:23 pm

I have found myself haggling with success, and when I have left the shop suddenly remember that I am back in Denmark, where you are not supposed to haggle! :lol:

It is worse, when I cross a busy street in Copenhagen - forgetting that I am not in Cairo... :sd

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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by Robbo70 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:34 am

Assuming Denmark drives on the same side of the road as Cairo, probably not as bad as forgetting Im back in the UK when crossing the road! :?
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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by A-Four » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:43 am

You may notice when Egyptian women, esp in Upper Egypt, go and buy such things as pots and pans, grannie, mum and all the children, sometimes, reluctantly great gran, (who is not afraid to smoke a bong in public) will pile into a such shop, plonk them selves down on the floor, then a fantastic challenge starts to take shape. The women will check very carefully every item for fault, all this can take a couple of hours for a sale of less than 100LE.

Another important note here is loyalty to one shop, where the owner knows your wealth, or lack of it, and often 'adjusts' the price to meet those conditions. As an ex-pat, I think one should expect to pay more for such items, ofcourse within a limit, but then again its knowing that limit.

I do go along with much of what Choc has said in the past, every day items like food you should expect to pay the same. Gone are the old days there where everything was fresh, you paying the high price, always got the best, and ofcourse it was delivered to your door. That's all gone now.

Now lets come to gifts, especially those bought by tourist. The shop owner will look carefully at your clothes, and although this is much out of date now, your manner. It is wrong to say expect to pay only 30% of the price stated. Look very carefully at the item you wish to purchase, do you really want this item? Is the quality good? Will it do what it says it will do as on the tin? No damage?. If you are now happy with all this, you now come to the idea of price. Remember you are expected to know something about the item, for example gold, and the price per gram, this is general knowledge to your average Egyptian. A diamond, the quality of this is determined by the lack of carbon (or coal as it is known in the business, but how many of us really know this, yet in the West we buy at THEIR set price, and believe me you are robbed.) YOU must now set in your mind the max price you wish to pay for said item, it is now that you acknowledge the shop keeper for the first time, ask the price of this. Note the expression on the face of the shop keeper. It is now that the battle will begin, but if within a short time his price comes no way near to your max price walk away,..........its that simple.

One final thing, Jewels notes here are valid, but the most important is item No 7, please remember that.

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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by Robbo70 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:39 pm

Im afraid Im a lazy haggler. I offer about 1/3 of the price and when the haggling starts, I offer to save us both time and effort and energy by only being prepared to pay what I just offered. I am not looking for an hour in a shop tossing prices back and to. Im polite about it. Here is what I want to buy, this is what Im willing to pay. Yes or no?
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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by A-Four » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:01 pm

............but Robbo, you only ever buy ciggis.........believe me, you don't have to haggle much for those. :wi

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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by Robbo70 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:29 pm

I buy ciggies in the airport and for a little extra have often bought more than my allowance :D I have been known to frequent the occasional shop to buy some tat for someone back home, and have indeed haggled, or rather named my price and not budged. In the silver shop I use, Tariq gives me the daily price of silver/gram, hands me the scales, lets me work it out and asks for a little bit on top to cover his running costs. So much easier than faffing about bandying numbers between us.
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Re: How to haggle on holiday

Post by A-Four » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:37 pm

I can see Robbo you have, while I've been away, been fraternizing here with some of the enemy on this site, take care lass, you'll end up bitter and twistered like then, if your not careful. :wi

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