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The Art of Haggling

Greece Haggling Parthenon

This week I went to Greece, where I tested my haggling skills.  Now, there was a major mental barrier that I had to conquer before I could actually haggle.  I actually felt bad thinking about arguing for a lower price with people who might need the money.

Then I realized that the vendors were prepared for people to haggle.  They probably previously raised the price to compensate.  And let’s be real, I don’t have a ton of money to be throwing around either – thank you, college.

I ended up successfully haggling for two of my souvenirs…well, I got them down to two-thirds of the original price.  Obviously, I’m no means an expert, but here are a few tips that I learned on through my experiences.

…know when you can haggle…

There are some people that just don’t want to haggle.  They are tired of people questioning their authority.  After all, they do own the shops.  But how do you tell when its okay to haggle?  Easy.  Ask how much something is.  If they respond by saying something like, “It’s 15 Euros, but I’ll give it to you for 12,” you’re golden.  If they flat out say a price or claim that it’s “50% off”, that price is the price that you’re paying.

…know how much you are willing to spend…

The goal of haggling is to save money, not to spend more than you want to, so you want to have a set amount of money that you are willing to use on a specific purchase.  Also, it’s helpful to have this amount of money easily accessible, as you can simply say that that’s all the money that you have, which works out pretty decently.

…offer a super low price…

If you do find a vendor that is willing to haggle, don’t be afraid to lower the price to something ridiculously low.  I never had the guts to go to less than half of the original price, but you can definitely go for it.

…don’t tell them where you’re from…

Odds are, at sometime during your bargaining process, the vendor will ask you where you’re from, and if you say some country like “the U.S.”, your haggling will become a little less successful, because then they know that you have a decent amount of money.  If you simply avoid the question and restate the price that you’re willing to pay, you might have better luck.

​…don’t be afraid to walk away…

If you can’t haggle down to a price that you’re happy with, don’t be afraid to walk away.  There are a million other vendors that are selling the exact same item and that would be down to haggle with you.

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