Haggling is a skill that takes practice. The first time I tried it, I have to say, I was pretty terrible. It was in a Tunisian souk 15 years ago. I wanted a wooden salad bowl which was priced at around a tenner.
“Five euro,” I said confidently.
“No, a tenner” the stall holder responded, just a a bit more confidently.
“”Er, six euro?” Slightly less confident this time.
I should have walked away at this point but I persisted. “Seven?
“Okay, nine,” he said, obviously feeling sorry for me. I left, clutching my bowl, embarrassed by my uselessness.
Another time, in a huge Bangkok market, I found a leather camera bag that would have been perfect. Just fecking perfect. The seller wanted the equivalent of €12 – a song, I thought. I decided to beat him down still further and offered five. He refused to budge so I walked away. Six years on I still regret not buying it as I’ve never seen its like again. And all the poor fella wanted for it was 12 measly quid.
Anyhoos, a report published today by consumer magazine Which?, says that while most people are reluctant to haggle it’s worth giving it a whirl as in these hard times, businesses are more likely to come down in price just to make the sale. The report showed that almost three quarters of its members said that they hadn’t tried haggling on the high street over the last year, but 85 per cent of those who had given it a go were successful. A third of shoppers questioned felt that high street stores just wouldn’t agree to lowering prices while a fifth felt too nervous to try haggling.
Anyone got any good haggling stories?