Haggling over prices (tourism) Watch

white_haired_wizard
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I travelled across various regions of India this time last year, currently i am in the middle of my travels in South America. Still, i find it uncomfortable haggling (if that's the right word) with local producers, i.e. getting prices lower...particularly given their quality of life.

I'll provide a scenario (Bolivia :cool: )....

market seller asks 48 bolivianos (approx 6 US dollars) for a woolly hat...

my travelling companion asks to buy it for 32 bolivianos (4 dollars)...

he gets the hat for the 4 dollars equivalent.

now, these are poor regions we are going to, various parts of ecuador, peru and bolivia, many of these regions literally in no-mans-land, extremely isolated, alienated livlihoods. The physical labour put into making such knitware, beggars belief. It takes them many an hour to even make a wrist adornment, never mind a wooly hat. Then you have locally made scarves, products made by poor indigenous populations struggling to get by....

is this culture of haggling, evidently embraced and often a process enjoyed, by tourists, amoral?

should the wealthier tourists be taking part in such a process? thus depriving poor producers of much needed money to sustain a living, helping to finance progress, build school buildings, a local social centre, etc...arguably our haggling is hindering their progression as a culture. Or maybe they don't want to progress to such heavy extents in fear of losing sense of identity, what makes who they are etc....

i do appreciate that capitalism/tourism to poorer parts of the world is often a good thing, i.e. such local sellers have foreign travellers to sell their products too etc....BUT NEVERTHELESS, is this haggling process fair?

any opinions, experiences appreciated

WHW.
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by-torslayshisfoe
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If third world countries didn't have so many corrupt governments, then people would have a chance to work out of poverty.
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pikaboo
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I know in Egypt they think you're a fool if you don't haggle in marketplaces. Even in shops a bit of banter is expected to get an item down to a reasonable price. I know sod all about economics but I think our money is more valuable to them anyway, so where £4 for a hat here is reasonable for them it's expensive. And so on.
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high priestess fnord
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put it into context. they make the hats to sell at a profit and im sure they sell them to other locals as well as tourists. they sell it to another local for $1 and go home happy they have made a small profit. a tourist comes along and they sell it for $4, the seller is happy that they have made a bigger profit and the buyer is happy because in western terms they have just bought a bargin. if you feel bad about it then spend wisely and when you leave the country give the rest of your holiday money to a local charity.
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silverbolt
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haggling is done in these countries hence why the opening price is so expensive. You are expected to haggle and bring them down and listen to explosive stories about the guys nine wives and fifty two starving children.

We do it in the UK as well at car boots though not to the same extent. You see soemthing you like ask the sellar he says 20 you say 15.
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L i b
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(Original post by white_haired_wizard)
I travelled across various regions of India this time last year, currently i am in the middle of my travels in South America. Still, i find it uncomfortable haggling (if that's the right word) with local producers, i.e. getting prices lower...particularly given their quality of life.
They're not asking for your charity. They expect you to haggle and simply want you to pay a fair price, not what they initially ask for.

I'll provide a scenario (Bolivia :cool: )....

market seller asks 48 bolivianos (approx 6 US dollars) for a woolly hat...

my travelling companion asks to buy it for 32 bolivianos (4 dollars)...

he gets the hat for the 4 dollars equivalent.
He's not doing it right. The first haggling level should always be just on the normal side of faintly ridiculous. It should be turned down firmly by the seller, but shouldn't be so low as to be an insult.

He could probably have got the hat for $2 if he'd wanted to.

should the wealthier tourists be taking part in such a process? thus depriving poor producers of much needed money to sustain a living, helping to finance progress, build school buildings, a local social centre, etc...arguably our haggling is hindering their progression as a culture. Or maybe they don't want to progress to such heavy extents in fear of losing sense of identity, what makes who they are etc....
Of course. This is a transaction you're talking about, not redistribution of the bloody wealth. If you want to do that, I suggest you don't do it in the form of paying two American dollars extra for something and instead perhaps donate a respectable sum (considering your Western lifestyle) to a charity that works in the local area, or even a local government agency if you think they're honest enough.
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L i b
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(Original post by Cadre_Of_Storms)
haggling is done in these countries hence why the opening price is so expensive. You are expected to haggle and bring them down and listen to explosive stories about the guys nine wives and fifty two starving children.

We do it in the UK as well at car boots though not to the same extent. You see soemthing you like ask the sellar he says 20 you say 15.
I do it anywhere that I'm paying more than £150 odd for something, particularly for electronic stuff. It's amazing how much you can get them down to in five minutes of bartering.

They want your custom, I don't want to pay ridiculous prices...
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Apagg
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If you don't haggle you inflate prices for the local economy. You're doing the majority a favour by haggling, really. You'll inevitably end up paying too much anyway.
Example: I was in Africa and was initially charged 1000 shillings for something, I got the guy down to 100 which he took happily. If I had paid 1000, and everyone else had, the guy might have decided "Screw the locals, if I can get this much from tourists, they can pay the same or go without". No one would have thanked me and my fellow tourists for the massive inflation.
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Howard
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I think "haggling" is very un-British.
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Apagg
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(Original post by Howard)
I think "haggling" is very un-British.
Only where British means "middle class and afraid to appear poor". It happens a lot in the market in my experience.
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Howard
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(Original post by Apagg)
Only where British means "middle class and afraid to appear poor". It happens a lot in the market in my experience.
Or just not wanting to act like some sort of "wog"
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mipmapped
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Or just not wanting to act like some sort of "wog"
WTF!
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L i b
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Haha!
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Apagg
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(Original post by Howard)
Or just not wanting to act like some sort of "wog"
zOMG liek fascist!11
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Tyler Durden
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I reckon most of these traders in India, Egypt etc feel cheated if you don't haggle; it's an important part of what they do and they expect you to enter into it a bit when buying from them. The fact is that if someone is doing well enough to own produce which they are selling on for prices that are higher than what it cost them to buy/manufacture the item, then they will be doing better than many other people in the country.
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Socrates
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It is also the case throught the ME.

The shopkeepers are very clever; even if you speak their language, they instantly know you are foreigner and up the price. If you speak English, they just put the prices 10x up anyway, but yeah, you've got haggle them down otherwise you are inflating the prices for the local who really can't afford it. I noticed this in Iran this year having been there four years previously; the inflation is incredible.
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City bound
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(Original post by Apagg)
Only where British means "middle class and afraid to appear poor". It happens a lot in the market in my experience.
It does seem that only the aspiring middle classes are unwilling to haggle. It's quite funny because I've met some super-rich people and some distinctly upper class people (the very people they aspire to socialise with) who won't buy anything without haggling.
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LeeC
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The rich peple are usually the tightest IMO, thats how they get their money :P No seriously rich people are usually tight!

Off topic: Referring to your sig City bound, (and perhaps wrongfully assuming you are an upper/middle class lad), do you not think you might feel differently about 'inequality is the way it should be, the way it's meant to be.' if you were born within the other 90% or so of the population that lives on pence every day?

On topic: But who really haggles in order to keep prices low for the locals?!?! Its a bit disgusting really, in your own country perhaps or to immerse yourself into the culture of haggling countries (Morroco or wherever), but in the example given, the very poor areas of south america, I think haggling down from 6 to 4 dollars for something you would pay probably $40 plus for in a shop is a bit unreasonable. It not the haggling that matters but WHY you haggle, if you haggle because you would rather save 2 dollars than give it to a poor south american guy then you're a bit of a wa**er really.
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Apagg
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(Original post by LeeC)
On topic: But who really haggles in order to keep prices low for the locals?!?! Its a bit disgusting really, in your own country perhaps or to immerse yourself into the culture of haggling countries (Morroco or wherever), but in the example given, the very poor areas of south america, I think haggling down from 6 to 4 dollars for something you would pay probably $40 plus for in a shop is a bit unreasonable. It not the haggling that matters but WHY you haggle, if you haggle because you would rather save 2 dollars than give it to a poor south american guy then you're a bit of a wa**er really.
Despite the guilt you might feel at not paying a price you can easily afford, you have to haggle to avoid destroying the economy more than you already have simply by being a tourist with an income 10-100 times greater than the national average. It's perhaps not something you'd arrive at instinctively, but logic dictates it.
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dhutch
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(Original post by Howard)
I think "haggling" is very un-British.
I agree, its seen as improper somehow, as a nation we're very happy to just "smile and not along".
- We're happy to queue for 3hours, for seamly no reason, without complaining. Infact, we almost expect it.
- We're happy to take things at face-value, just so as not to make a fuss and seam "uncool" or "weird".

Even on secondhand market stalls, people will often pay the price marked.
- To this end, if you do have the gutts to ask, or complain, it often has a fairly large affect. From my experence anyway.
- Like my mate bike a few years ago. The expected solution was for him to pay £200 for a 'discount' replacement simular frame.
- With a little asking/haggling, he worked that down to £75 for a totaly diffrent, higher grade frame, imported specialy for him, in an unusuall colour. Sorted!


Daniel
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