All About That Barter

In some countries when you go to buy souvenirs, they will give you a price, a ridiculous price. They hope being tourists you will pay for it. However, bartering is like a hobby, and to get a semi decent price – you have to play the game.

The price they give you – let’s say it is 100 – some website will say go 80% of the price given. Let’s do a typical exchange.


Seller: 100

You: 20

Seller: No, No, No (some comment about how this product is wonderful, nice, real whatever – don’t believe it. I even had someone set their product on fire to prove their point)

You: Nod your head, agree it is nice (of course because you have great taste)! How about 25

Seller: No, No, No.. For you, I will sell for 80

You: Thank you, but it is okay… Start walking off because I can almost gurarentee you that what they are selling – so will 20 other vendors in that area

Typically a seller will call you back once you walk away. They will lower the price

Seller: Wait, for you, for you 60

You: No, I can’t do more than 40

Now, most of the time, the seller will agree to what you are saying or say a slightly higher price


Some tips to remember:

  • Most of the time, you are not really buying quality products so you are not robbing them of money.
  • They will not sell you anything at price or at a loss. If you go too low, they will stop bartering. That is a sign – maybe you want to go higher.
  • Don’t be mean. Don’t pretend like what you have is junk (even if it is). Be respectful but know they will try to get the most out of you just because you are a tourist.

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