Ah bargaining. It’s a process that bewilders those not accustomed to it and frustrates those who know nothing else. The first time you’re in a new place it’s helpful, if you’re unsure, to figure out if prices are flexible or if it is what it says it is or else risk embarrassment. Some people love to bargain but others detest it – and these are some of the reasons why:
Pro: You Save Money
If you’re travelling for a long period of time, bargaining for certain items is a great way to keep your personal finances in check, particularly if you are looking at the initial price as the price you have to work with. Don’t go into bargaining thinking that you will be awesome at it off the start though or that you’ll get some real deals – it’s something that takes practice.
Con: You Can Become A Jerk
Constantly undermining what someone tells you something is worth can make you adversarial and that is not an attractive quality. Haggling over money brings out the worst in people and what you perceive as a victory others may regard as a reason not to hang out with you.
You just saved over half the cost of something! Wow! If you find something that you think is worth a certain amount and you end up getting it for a steal, it can be exhilarating and is often one of the things people list as their favourite part of traveling.
Con: It Can Be Tiresome
Sometimes you just want to know what the price is and not have to argue with someone, but it’s a necessary practice if you don’t want to be gouged.
Pro: You’re Engaging in a Dialogue
There’s something to be said for the fine art of negotiation and if you do it in a polite and respectful way, you can be a part of the way of life of that place. Taking part in this type of dialogue is a part of the travel experience you cannot find anywhere other than actually being there in person.
Con: Someone Gets Taken Advantage Of
Especially if you’re new to the whole process, bargaining has a steep learning curve. If you are experienced though, you will likely take advantage of others. While you may risk being the sucker, far more likely you are quibbling over next to nothing for yourself but the difference between that person affording basic necessities. Sure, your pride may sting if you find the same thing for five dollars more somewhere else but then maybe that person can afford some little happiness that they don’t often get.