Be a Good Market Negotiator

Happy Friday Peeps!

This past Monday, I posted about some FAB markets to visit in Mexico City. For those markets, as well as most others around the world, negotiating prices of products is common practice.

With that said, it’s not common in the US, so most Americans are not always comfortable bargaining with shop owners…especially when the products are often already inexpensive in US dollars.

Here are 3 tips to help you negotiate when souvenir shopping at a market.

Tip 1: Do Your Research

Before you leave for your trip, take some time to see what handcrafts and products are well known in the region you’re planning to visit. Knowing what’s considered valuable in that country will help you discern which products to buy as well as the quality of those products.

IMG_3311Photo: Talavera (type of ceramic) from Puebla, Mexico.

Tip 2: The Calculator

When I travel, I always carry a small, cheap calculator with me. While I know you have one on your fancy smart phone, the market isn’t a place to whip out said fancy phone as it could attract unwanted attention. Stick to the ole five-dollar calculator for markets and tourist attractions. Safety first people.

The calculator is your best bargaining tool to help communicate with someone who may not speak your language. It’s also an easy way to bargain by percentage, as most sellers are willing to give at least a 10 to 15 percent discount on a product.

Additionally, in a foreign country, this helpful tool can be used for other things, such as negotiating taxi fares or figuring out the exchange rate on the go.


Tip 3: Be Prepared to Buy…or Walk Away

The best bargaining chip you have is to be willing to walk away. If you seem too interested, then you will end up paying top dollar for your souvenir. You must be willing to walk away from the item to convince the seller that a lower profit is better than no profit.

With that said, if you take the time to negotiate with a seller and they offer a fair price, be willing to actually purchase the product. The goal is not to get the souvenir for nothing but to get a fair price for a product that you can enjoy for years to come.

IMG_3303Photo: Handcrafts from market in Mexico City, Mexico.

Happy bargaining!



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