Women are uncomfortable paying for something that does not have set price. Tips, discretionary donations and bargaining make us squirm. Yet 48% of all Americans tried bargaining in the last 3 years according to Consumer Reports.
A few guidelines on bargaining might help you:
Do not be intimidated by a fancy store or an aggressive salesperson. Know that in some countries bargaining is part of the normal process. Everyone wants to make a sale. In cities like Paris where we go Dec 21-28 2015, ask up front for discounts for tourists and or tax rebates. Department stores will have Welcome Desks for you; use them.
For non Western Europe say Morocco or India where we go frequently, begin with 40% of the price. If you are paying cash, then start with 35%. A low price might elicit a negative reaction: ‘You are insulting my store’. So begin with a positive: I love the carpet; however my budget is xxxxx. The vendor’s negative reaction should not turn you nasty, just smile and be pleasant. (Overseas, Americans have a reputation of getting tough and walking away from the sale as a game. You want the vendor to know you are truly interested). Traveling solo? Ask someone in your Women’s Travel Group tour to stand with you for bulwark.
Buy 2-3 of the same object and offer a price for the group.
Use different currencies: Dollars and Euros and offer one/the other/both of them. Bring a personal check also.
At the stalemate, stay quiet and wait. If you are in a hurry, then you need to display your money, say I must join my tour and this is it. Put the cash in the vendor’s hand, and repeat this is my price. (He/she will not run away with your cash).
Get to your final price, and toss in a small item like postcards. I have seen that done effectively. Don’t be piggish.
Offer to do something for the vendor; I am going to put this necklace on Facebook and tell all my friends. I am going to wear it now and tell the rest of the tour I am with.
Do not be afraid to walk away or say you are going to look around. You can come back, even in a minute. Walk away with courtesy not anger.
And do not haggle to death someone in a very poor country, who clearly needs the income. A game to you is food to their children.