Shopping in Pakistan is an enjoyable experience and haggling is something that makes it all the more unique, especially if you know the best bargaining tips to secure a good deal. Similar to folk songs, dances, and food, bargaining and negotiating for the best deals is also a major part of our culture. Interestingly, the sellers know what’s coming to them, and they are always ready to tango.
We’ve all seen our mothers and aunts securing amazing deals, adamant on paying a set price, to the point of embarrassing us. This should make you wonder about what it is that makes a bargain successful? What are the tricks of the trade that you can use to bring down prices where you get to walk away with the product of your choice well within your set budget?
Contrary to popular belief, haggling is not about being stingy. Rather, it’s a game where both parties try to get the best of the opponent. Starting with knowing that the first quoted price is never the right one, here are some of the best bargaining tips to help you haggle like a pro in Pakistan for everything from fruits and vegetables to clothes and even rickshaw rides.
Remain Calm and Confident
It is often said that dogs can ‘smell fear’. Similarly, an expert seller can smell you caving in. Do not let a situation overwhelm you. Smile, maintain that confidence and remain calm. Remember that all sellers expect you to negotiate on prices unless they have a ‘Fixed Price’ tag in their shop. Even then, if you are not comfortable at a price, you can try to negotiate a little bit. It is your right to aim for the best bargain, so, do not let a seller figure out that they’ve frazzled you. Haggle on!
Do Your Research on Prices
The best tip for securing a good bargain is to check out a number of fixed-price stores where similar products are sold. This goes for ready-made clothes, shoes, décor items, and almost everything else. A short market survey will help you get a broader idea about the price range of the things you want to purchase at a bargain. You can also go online to check the standard market rates. Remember, comparing prices during your research is one of the best ways to save money while shopping.
Visit Early to Secure the Best Price
Culturally, most sellers consider their first sale of the day to be lucky and are eager to secure it early. Thus, if you’re going to the market early in the day, you might get away with getting something for a steal.
Browse the Market
All’s not lost just because you couldn’t go to the market early. Regardless of when you reach the market, make sure that you browse some shops before settling on a particular shop.
Have you finally found the living room rug you’d been looking for? Are you happy that your trip has been successful? Well, just because you’re happy does not mean you have to show it to the world. Keep that smile in check and appear disinterested in the rug you like while you ask the prices. You could also ask prices for a few other pieces to show you’re still undecided.
Imply That the Price is Too High
If you’ve got your heart set on buying something at a particular price, then start implying that the price is too high. You can tell the shopkeeper outright that their product is too expensive for you to buy.
Always Quote a Little Below Your Final Price
Most sellers will generally ask you for a price in return when you state that their asking price is high. Stick to your nonchalance and quote a price that is a fair margin below the final price that you’d be willing to part with. Some people often go as low as one-third of the asking price, since they want to leave room for securing a good bargain.
Claim to be a Returning Customer
Pakistanis love to state this to each and every seller they negotiate with. Whether you’ve been to a particular shop once, twice, all your life, or never, claiming to be a returning customer can surely soften hearts and bring down prices.
Point Out Flaws for a Price Reduction
Is an adamant seller not bringing down prices? Start pointing out flaws in that embroidered dress you really want to buy. A loose thread, a weaving error, faded colour, and many other errors can be claimed in a product you love, simply to bring its price down to your budget.
Compare Prices to Rivals
Another tactic to secure good bargains is to compare two similar wares in two different shops. Something along the lines of ‘oh, I saw this elsewhere as well, and over there it was costing me…’ Always quote a lower price than the asking price here. Most sellers will reduce the price further to the mark you’ve mentioned.
Try to Find a Middle Ground
If a seller finds it difficult to accept your asking price, try to bend a little and negotiate a price that is neither yours nor theirs. A price lying in the middle of both prices works best here. The seller will tell you if that is acceptable to them once you suggest this.
Have a Debate with Your Companion
Do you want to convince the seller that you’re no longer interested in getting a particular product? Start a debate on its pros and cons with your shopping companion. List out all its flaws and let the other person convince you on how good it is. Seeing you in doubt will make the shopkeeper realise that they might just end up losing a sale. Most sellers will reduce prices further under such circumstances.
Hint at the Possibility of a Future Sale
Going shopping alone? Convince the shopkeeper that you’ll bring your friends or family along next time for more sales, and they’ll probably lower down prices with the hopes of securing a returning customer.
Get Additional Discounts for Bulk Buying
If you’re planning on buying more than one item, you need to play it smart. Do not let the shop owner quote a price in bulk. Pretend to be interested in buying just one piece and get the price reduced as much as possible. Then add the new pieces and demand a further discount for bulk buying. You can cut as much as 30% of the asking price this way.
Keep Your Money Hidden
Never ever open up your wallet in a crowded market, especially not before bargaining on a set price. Once the price is set, and both you and the seller agree on it, you can turn towards a wall or dig deep into your purse to come up with the money needed to secure the deal. It is always best to keep cash in hand when you plan on shopping for a bargain.
Do not be Afraid to Walk Away
If all else fails and the seller still won’t agree to the price you’ve set, use the ultimate failsafe. Walk away. Slowly, calmly, with a little bit of hope that you’ll be called back with a reduced price. If that happens, head back and buy the product. If you don’t hear a peep from the stall you just left, take it in stride and try your luck at the next one.
These are just some of the many tips that can help you secure the best bargains in some of the top street markets of Lahore, Karachi and many other cities in Pakistan. Use these tips to improve your negotiation skills and haggle like a pro to buy your favourite products at a fraction of the asking price.