Thursday 20 September 2007

Won't 'aggle?

I've just been to the barbers. I always look forward to that. A shave, a haircut and a wonderful massage all for about £5.

While I was in there a tourist came in and asked how much for the full works. I winced in anticipation for the response. I was completely shocked. The barber quoted the guy only a little over what he charges me. He actually gave a fair price!

As I walked back through the busy shopping streets lined with souvenirs and fake watches, I noticed the tourists milling about like sheep whilst the sun glass wearing suited wolves leaned against shop doors trying to spot a loose fool.

Any tourist in Kusadasi right now has a problem. The season was bad this year and it's meant that the salesman have got to make up for lost time and money. This means that current tourists are getting royally shafted. I don't blame anyone; this money has to see these guys through the winter. But I thought I'd try and put together a 'how to' on getting the best price in a shop in Turkey (or anywhere for that matter).

I say 'best price' and not bargain because, ultimately, if you're foreign you're simply not going to get the same price as a Turk and so:

Rule 1. Try and make friends with a Turk and get them to buy it. This is unlikely on a 2 week holiday because, the chances are, they're going to take you to a friend who's going to give him commission anyway.

Rule 2. Think about how much you would be happy to spend on this product and keep it in mind at all times.

Rule 3. On asking the price, offer low (even half). Usually you wont insult the seller.

Rule 4. Shop around. Get as many prices as you can from different shops. You will need this later. Make sure you ask for their final price and then walk away.

Rule 5. Realise that some things are a fixed price nationally. Don't haggle for a pack of cigarettes.

Rule 6. Don't haggle for things that just aren't worth it. Don't haggle for a pack of cigarettes.

Rule 7. Don't seem too bothered whether you want to buy or not. If your girlfriend is chomping for a particular Versace handbag, tell her to control her emotions or leave her in a cafe somewhere. This is poker face time. I got a £120 robe down to £5 in Morocco because I genuinely wasn't interested in it but for £5 it was a nice memento.

Rule 8. Don't let on that this is the product you've been searching for all day.

Rule 9. Show you are capable of buying. A common mistake is to look poor. This will just mean you don't get good service. Be confident that you can afford this product but that you have money because you're no mug. Be authoritative but not aggressive or arrogant.

Rule 10. Don't be scared to walk away. If you've got down to his 'lowest' price then politely thank him and tell him you'll think about it and walk away. One of two things are going to happen: 1. He'll let you walk 2. He'll offer you more off.

Rule 11. If he lets you walk, you may have reached his lowest price or he is still playing the game. After some time, walk past the shop. Make sure he can see you but say no more than 'hello, how are you?' but keep walking. See if he offers you some more off (it's also good if you have some new shopping bags in your hands to prove that you've been splashing the cash). This has happened to me before.

Rule 12. Play one shop off against the other. Claim that the other shop has some advantage, either financial or quality. Make the seller think you'd be happier going to the other shop.

Rule 13. Show him the money! Get the cash out and show him the money. Cash. Ready. No problem. This can sometimes push it down a little. Especially if you tell him something like "well this is all I have, otherwise it will have to wait until I can get to the bank tomorrow". Oh you mean bugger! He knows he needs to get your deal there and then or you'll get cold feet.

Rule 14. The most important rule. If you're happy with the price, buy it and don't look back. After you've bought it don't check any other prices again. Move onto something else. Don't beat yourself up wondering whether you were ripped off. If you like it and you thought the price was fair, it was. Enjoy your new purchase.

Happy haggling!

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