Travelling, as we know it, affects our philosophy towards life and introduces us to the unending alternative ways we could choose to live. The overall crux of exploring the wild and the weird, the unknown and the known is to see, beyond the parenthesis of one’s eyes and learn about infinity. While I curb myself from digging deeper into the meaning and miracle of traveling, let us plunge into a much milder yet equally relevant subject every traveler should compulsorily learn about, “The art of Bargaining”.
It’s as important as learning a few basic phrases like “Namaste” and “Bhaiya”, the concept of haggling is played like a sport in the Indian sub-continent. Unfortunately, the rules of haggling are alien to the west, the world of straightforward price tags and Shopping malls has created a rift between this incredible tradition and the modern buyers. But unlike the rest, India is the battlefield of Bargaining and no one enters the magical land without learning the rules.
While bargaining is easy and so much fun, tourists are often uncomfortable and try to avoid it entirely. Bargaining is one of the easiest, most visceral ways to interact with the locals and the culture, and, when done properly, it even helps develop some serious street cred. Practiced most in the local flee markets and yard sales, famous sites like Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Goa are bustling with numerous marketable streets. I have randomly put together a few pointers you could read through and will help you understand the basics of Bargaining in India.
1. Don’t feel embarrassed or guilty while bargaining. Keep your ego aside while diving in the local markets and streets. Haggling is practiced as a culture and followed as a tradition in India.
2. Decide whether you absolutely want something and then begin your negotiation, unnecessary dialogue with these furious yet talkative vendors is usually unacceptable to them.
3. Use your local wit and humor to begin with, strike up a conversation and bargain your way to an amazing price.
4. Never look all that interested. Tough secretly you love any garment or article but as a rule of thumb, you can’t show it out right.
5. Merchants are professional sellers- they are haggling with tons of customers every day. Bargaining is there second nature and there first intention will be to extract maximum money out of your pocket. So don’t shy away.
6. Don’t view it as an act of charity. This is a million dollar industry and they are definitely making more money then you are imagining.
7. And finally, everybody is free to spend their money as they please but ruining the game for the rest is a little rude. The conventional myth of rich and clueless foreigners should be changed.