Just don‘t be impulsive. But be a good negotiator
When we are travelling our mind and wallet is often in a different mode. We may be great at squeezing that extra penny out of a green-grocer in our own town but things turn different when we find ourselves among new people and ways.
Often we either end up shopping too much and at quite an expense or come back with a full purse but an empty heart.
What it is that smart tourist shoppers do after all?
If you eye one cruising around the shops you are salivating over, stay on his/her heels. There’s so much that you can learn from this shopper.
For example, this species never makes a scene out of a shopping transaction. If a certain culture or place does not encourage haggling, they have an instinct to pick the unsaid (or well-written) message from the air, the clear price-tags and the body language of sellers. On the other side, they also have a knack at trying the option to negotiate before being fooled by initial sentences.
Once they start, they are thorough. They would not vomit cliché lines like ‘This is not worth so much’. They would talk in a way and with such details, that the seller would unequivocally realise that s/he is dealing with someone who knows about the product.
They would also be savvy to ascertain a rough value of the item in question themselves instead of simply deducting a percentage from what’s stamped on the price tag.
These people may look like tourists but they behave like locals so that sellers do not assume them to be ignorant people who can be easily conned.
Another striking feature of such shoppers is that they do not appear desperate or in a hurry. They have patience and time. If they say, they don’t have too much time for the discussion; they are only playing a good card.
Paying in cash, buying from markets where locals shop, being alert about rip-offs, showing actual cash, getting a rough sense of local economy and price patterns, making the first call, eyeing what others are paying, approaching sellers during closing hours, doing quick currency conversions, buying more than one items and walking away (or pretending to) at the right moment etc. are some more tricks that these people employ skillfully.
They would also be prudent enough to know that the product being bought would make some sense after the trip mood is over too. They buy with instincts, not impulses. They pay for what the item is worth, not by how much the seller thinks they can pay.
This species also takes in the market with a good walk before entering a discussion somewhere. They are willing to talk but would not be softened easily with a cold drink or the sight of a big buffet of items on display or other gimmicks or charms of a smarmy salesman.
They are not gullible but they also have a friendly energy and some tact for humour. They make haggling an enjoyable and fruitful experience somehow – for both the sides. They will also not pinch local, poor handicrafts-men just because the plain villager is in need of quick money. They know that sometimes tourists get discriminated and priced differently. They know that once an agreement happens it is both rude and unfair to walk without a purchase.
The best thing that you mark in such shoppers is that they can read humans and also, that they are always willing to learn, unlearn and re-learn. They enjoy the process, like a journey. They may lose some, may win some – but overall, they come out with a nice big picture.
So hope you become one of them soon if you are already not. Practise. Learn. Become.