The Extremely Complex Art of Haggling in Bali by Rusty Shackleford
Here in Bali, there’re a lot of clueless tourists who’ll pay just about anything because they consider things cheap no matter how bad they’re getting ripped off. If you’re an economist, you’ll probably see Adam Smith’s invisible hand at work. If you’re like me, you see a system built on the back of sucker tourists where it makes perfect business sense for every merchant to charge the most unfair price possible.
This is where this small guide comes in handy, read it, study it and someday you might not have to pay Rp 150k for a bottle opener shaped like a penis. So clue in and…
1. Never show too much interest in the item in question. If you do, it’s not the end of the world, but it means you’ll probably have to haggle that much harder for that special item. If you feel like negotiations are stalling, do what politicians do and…
2. Walk away. Being fed up and leaving the negotiation party is an excellent way of forcing a salesperson to lower his/her price. It’s like giving an ultimatum to go down or not sell at all and it’s pretty magical. Never hesitate to use this tactic and if vendors sell similar items nearby, use that to your advantage. When the seller calls you back the first time, look back, and ignore them to continue to check out his/her competitors. If the seller comes to you, just cut off all communication and do something else, like stare at your ipod or read a book.
3. Don’t ever get bullied. Some places that many tourists frequent are filled with vendors who know how to overwhelm their subjects. Sometimes they’ll even grab you to prevent you from leaving, or pull you into their store. You don’t have to get nasty, but be firm. Don’t even look at them and walk away. If they sense weakness, they’ll descend upon you like a pack of rabid hyenas.
4. Be funny. Nothing is more satisfying that ripping off a complete douchebag and on the flip side of that coin, a seller would much rather get a reduced profit from someone they actually like. Try to find common ground, smile, and never press your price in a hard-line way. The more casual and less antagonistic you are the better, and it just makes for a more pleasant experience all around.
5. Wear out your opponent. Sure, these guys probably have a lot more hours logged haggling away, but with sheer grit and determination you might get that item you were looking for at a fraction of the sucker tourist price.
Note: These haggling practices are to be used for purchasing items. Using these tactics when dealing with law enforcement or massage
services are not advisable.