Someone on another thread was discussing haggling with the "locals". My darling boss, a minister was in Puerto Vallarta and wanted a straw hat with wide woven, colorful band. He haggled and haggled and finally the beach-side vendor gave in, took his cash, and plopped the hat on his head. At that point his wife returned from using the "facilities" and sat down with him, and promptly asked "why would you buy a hat with no band?"
Apparently when this guy said he couldn't go any lower, he meant it!
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I've discovered the vendors at the ports are much like car dealerships. They don't negotiate to bottom dollar until you turn and say no thanks and head for the exit. My wife fell in love with a piece of inexpensive jewelry on a recent cruise and they wanted $80. for it. She, unfortunately is not good at hiding her emotions and they knew she loved it. When they said $80. she tried lesser amounts with no success. I took the item from her hand and said "Honey that's the most awful looking thing I've ever seen. Lets hit a few more shops and see if we can find something we both like." I took her arm and started heading for the door, she didn't move. With a little coaxing she finally turned and moved with me toward the door. As we grabbed the door to leave, the young man said "How about $24.00?" I handed him a $20. and and he took it, we were off with her bobble that we still probably over paid for.
Pretend you're shopping for a car when negotiating and never let them know you love it. Leaving is the best negotiating tool I've found. I was once a car sales guy, you don't get a second shot if someone leaves in that industry. Time to deal or lose a sale.
We were on the beach at Cabo San Lucas and was approached by a vendor. My husband asked the price of a papier mache' fish - "$6.00 senor", we were told. My husband shook his head and said "No thanks, that's too much." The vendor responded with, "For you senor, 2 for $12.00".
In Playa del Carmen in 2003 I was looking at a belt at a shop. He wanted too much - crazy price like $50 or something. I went down to $10 but he wouldn't budge below $25. So I left.
I got a fair way down the street and he came chasing after me with the belt. He seemed angry and just said "here, I'll take the ten". I almost said no because of his attitude but I bought it. I still have it.
The Caribbean guys have nothing on the sales guys in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Those guys were a challenge. But we had fun. The wife decided she was going to buy a fake designer purse... The guy's first price was $125. We could have bought the real thing for $150. So the wife begins at $15. We stood there for 15 minutes haggling, went through the original sales guy, his "boss", the owner's son and then finally the old man himself before she walked away with her purse for $20. And yes we probably still over paid by about $10 but it was the best $10 worth of entertainment I could have bought. I think we started to walk away at least 3 times.
We even haggled over the price of a Gyro and a coke for lunch - "Oh but my hovel of a restaurant is the finest hovel in the bazaar my friend! No where else will you find such a quality meal." They take it to an art form over there.
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