How to haggle like a pro in India

India is a different country, a different culture. It functions differently. This applies to every aspect of social activity, including how commerce is done. To someone who is visiting India for the first, one of the most striking features of an Indian bazaar, if they are not bedazzled by the immense crowds, is the constant negotiation over price. Rarely a deal is done in India that does not involve bargaining. It is not merely a cultural trait; there are some practical reasons too.

India is a developing country. Laws concerning how business is done are often poorly enforced. Absence of an authentic retail price on most items is an example of this. This often leaves the customer helpless. They have virtually no way of knowing the retail price of a product. So they often resort to negotiating the seller’s first price as a protective measure, to ensure they are not cheated. Some customers are really good at it. They aren’t necessarily MBAs who have read several dozen books on the art of trading in India. They are ordinary people who use some basic techniques to get a just price for a product.

Shops in India
Shops in India

Here are 7 such techniques that will help you during your shopping in India’s bazaars.

(1) Visit several stores

The best way to know the retail price of an item is to visit several stores selling it. That will give you a good estimate of what the thing is really worth and help you in your negotiations.

(2) Never pay the seller’s price

Unless you have a lot of money to spare, never pay the price the seller asks for the first time; even when you see something like “Fixed Price Shop.” India is different, and haggling is permitted even at shops flaunting “No Bargaining” sign.

(3) Start bargaining as soon as possible

Don’t let the seller fall into the comfort zone that they can trick you. The moment they tell you price, ask them indifferently if this is the best they can offer. It is going to have a powerful effect on them.

(4) Remain indifferent

Don’t let the salesperson know you are interested in an item; that will put you in a disadvantageous position. It will be more difficult to budge the seller who already knows you want a particular item.

(5) Make the seller do some work

Even if you have liked an item at first glance, ask the seller to show more items. Show interest and ask for more. An advantage of doing this is that after all this work; the seller would badly want a reward in form for a sale. Thus they will be more willing to offer you a good deal.

(6) Buy more than one items

If possible, go for more than items. This will significantly reduce your average cost.

(7) Walk away

If you think the price is still too high, just walk out. More than often, this results in drastic drop in price so you can have the best bargain.

I have included some basic Hindi words here for use when shopping. Here are they are again.

Any discount = daam kum kijiye
How much or what is the cost = kitnay ka hai
This is expensive = yeh bahut mehanga hai
Bill please = bill de dijiye
What happened = kya hua
I want a ticket = mujhe ek ticket chahiye
How much is this = ye kitne ka hai

You can actually here me speaking these words.

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