Sunday, 28 April 2013


Haggling is much like the old hag depicted in Disney films; often deceptive, cruel, clever and always equipped with an ingenious plan of attack.

This popular means of negotiation is rife in Asia, integral to its culture and to your hope of a bargain. Without it you would be paying £30 for fake Ray Bans instead of £3. Coming from England, the land of excessive pleases and thank yous, this will inevitably come as a shock to the system. Do not be fooled ladies and gentlemen, knocking a couple of quid off the price is not success, try 50% and you'll be more on the mark. It's hard to know whether these market workers should go to business school or perform on the west end: their cut throat sales pitches and dead pan business faces followed by pleading puppy dog eyes are quite an art form. Yet 5 weeks into my South East Asian trip of a lifetime I mastered the following techniques:
1.) The 'did you just call me an idiot?' look. 
Best used at the start of the haggle, when you are offered an extortionately inflated price. The look is a mixture of shock, disbelief, offence, topped off with a subtle huff suggesting they can sod off. This usually results in a decent price drop on their behalf, and so the haggling commences...
2.) Repeating the price in 'teens' rather than 'tens'.
Again another great one to start off with. If you are genuinely shocked at how much it is then the chances are they are taking you for a fool. Use this to show you mean business.. 'thirteen? that IS expensive!!' 
3.) Purse preparation.
Always decide beforehand a price you would be happy to pay and make sure there is only that amount visible in your purse. This means you can use the ' oh well I only have X amount on me'. 
4.) The Bluff.
This is definitely my favourite. Can't get the price you want? Walk away! yeh yeh I know you want it really but this is your best way of showing your haggle rival that you are in control. The further you walk the lower they drop. 
CAUTION these techniques aren't fool proof, but they may just be your prince charming!

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