Bartering banter

Jess Neale

Jess NealeIn the news this week was a story about how although women nowadays are discount divas, the line is seemingly drawn at bartering: More than 40% of women are too embarrassed to give it a go.

After some discussion on Facebook and Twitter it seems that many of you agree, saying that you can’t find the confidence to haggle and would rather pay the set price or walk away.

Maybe it’s our typical British reserve preventing us from squeezing the most out of our money, but I feel that when a bargain is to be had then it’s worth risking the rejection; plus I love a bit of bartering banter!

When I was in South East Asia it was the norm to haggle for street food, gifts on the market, or a room for the night and I always seemed to get a little buzz out of achieving a knock-down price. In this country the trick is to find the right time and place to be bartering. With the majority of high street shops there’s often no leeway on price and it’s not worth your breath even trying, but pick your moment and you could strike gold.

This weekend I braved the weather forecast and went to Southampton to see some friends.  Upon arrival at the hotel we were outraged at the cost of using their car park. The sign at the entrance said we would be charged £5 for the day, and we all felt this wasn’t fair seeing as we were paying guests and there had been no charge in the past for parking.

So, much to the embarrassment of my friends, I decided to try my luck and ask for a discount, explaining calmly that we had paid full price for the room, had stayed before and didn’t think the price was reasonable. After some discussion and an initial refusal, the kind hotel check-in lady let us have parking for free. You don’t ask, you don’t get! I was really was rather chuffed with myself.

If you’re thinking of haggling, remember these top tips:

  • Although the high street isn’t usually good for a haggle, if you have a damaged item it’s worth checking if they will sell it at a discount. Ask for 20%, but settle for 10%.
  • When shopping in a market try asking for a discount if you are buying more than one item; it definitely helps if there are similar stalls selling the same items nearby.  (I used to do the trick of pretending to walk away toward the other stall, tell them the other stall is doing it cheaper!)
  • Stick to your budget – even if it involves walking away empty handed
  • If they say a firm ‘no’, don’t be disheartened, it was worth a try!

For more tips check out this article on how to get haggling. Good luck!