Is the price right? Learning the basics of bargaining.
Haggling is an instinct the Indonesians are gifted with as local market and street vendor prices are almost never set in stone. Some people love the back-and-forth of bargaining while others loathe it, but these helpful tips, might save you a couple of rupiah during your next shopping excursion.
Tip #1: Know how much the item should cost
The first step in bargaining is knowing how much the item really costs. Always make your first offer lower than the real price. This may cause the vendor to be surprised but don’t worry, he will lower his opening price too.
Here’s a trick to find out what the actual rock-bottom price is. First, offer a very low price and wait for the vendor to counter it. Second, act disinterested at the counter offer and walk away slowly. Four out of five times you will be called back and given the real lowest price. Bingo!
Tip #2: Do not use anger
Keeping a smile and using humor is the best approach to bargaining. It’s a bit like flirting but with higher stakes!
Tip #3: Set your final price in stone
Decide how much you are truly willing to pay for something. Count the amount out in small bills and have it handy so when you reach that magic number, you can pull the bills out and say, “This is really all the money I have”.
Tip #4: Some Useful Lines
Here are a few magic lines to get you closer to the vendor giving in:
“Kenapa disana lebih murah?” (Why is it cheaper in the other store?)
This creates competition and betters your chances of scoring the prized item.
“Saya mau jadi langganan.” (I will be your regular customer.)
Vendors always want customers, and if they are regulars, even better! It’s a good incentive for them to lower the price and close the deal.
“Saya bawa teman.” (I will bring a friend.)
More customers for them if they lower down the price for you. Sounds fair.
“Saya sudah lama disini, tau harga local.” (I have been here for a while and I know the local price.)
Having a little Jakarta street cred and proving to the vendors that you are aware of the actual price can be impressive in the marketplace.
Tip #5: Have Fun
Bargaining is a playful and fun experience. For some shoppers, it’s just as much about the process as it is about the specific item. But don’t get your heart set on specific items, as you might not take them home in the end. All this takes time, patience, will and practice – but trust us, it is worth the sport and the pennies saved.
Top image: Elaine Foster