When you visit local markets and you want to buy something, what is one thing you must do?
These vendors are pros, they know you are a damn foreigner and is willing to fork over some good ol’ US dollars. Even though it may seem cheap to you already, remember the labor / raw materials to make most of these items is DIRT CHEAP.
SO DON”T SETTLE.
Besides, it’s part of the entire experience to haggle away haha.
So when we visited the Luang Prabang Night Market I readied myself for some tough negotiations!
So firstly, what is there to buy at the Luang Prabang Night Market?
Your typical souvenirs:
- The I love Laos T shirts
- Bangles / Jewlerry
- Some tube thing that amplifies your phone music
- Other random shit you will never use
It was also a very large market, so if you love to haggle this is going to be heaven for you. You will get to haggle non stop.
So Choi? What item did you bargain for?
Oh. Right. I didn’t get anything here.
Yeah. I wasn’t really digging any of items being sold here (not their problem, it’s me =p).
That being said, I do want to share some tips that I have obtained over the years living in Asia (mostly influenced by girls).
Tip # 1 – Never accept the first price they offer you.
As mentioned above, these guys are pros. They know you are going to bargain, so they will have the price up probably 75 – 100% of the original price.
So what Choi does is have this disgusted look at on his face, and say “Too Expensive” or my favorite ” I have no money, need better deal”.
One of two things will happen:
- Vendor laughs and gives you a better price (or at least starts the negotiation)
- Vendor laughs and tells you to get the fuck out
Just hope the second option doesn’t happen otherwise, NO DEAL!
Tip # 2 – Look Mildly interested but NOT too interested
Why? Because if you are TOO interested, the vendor knows you want it bad so they are not going to offer you a good price.
BUT if you look like you are on the shelf on the purchase, they are more inclined to give you a cheaper price to sway you to buy it.
For example, does Choi really need another “I love _______” something t-shirt from the Luang Prabang Night Market?
But I wouldn’t mind one either so. So what I would do is this:
- make eye contact with the vendor
- then look at the “I love _____” t shirt
- stare at the t-shirt for about 20 seconds to express interest. The vendor now knows.
- He / she will then tell you a price right away
- You the need to have a “I don’t give a fuck really” look
- The vendor will see this, and proceed to give you a better price.
This is tried, tested and true. By Choi of course because he is smart.
Tip # 3 – Go to different shops and compare
Chances are, the shops all sell similar things in the market. And the vendors from the other shops probably over heard your modest interest in the “I love___” t-shirts.
So, what you can do is go to another vendor and say this is what was offered to me, beat this price or I will get the fuck out. Say this with confidence and like a boss please.
You don’t want to sound like a wimp. The vendors can smell this and call your bluff right away. You don’t want that to happen.
Tip # 4 – Walk away and pretend you don’t want it
My ultimate weapon.
Ready to hear about it?
When you are close to a price you are willing to pay, start to WALK AWAY from the shop.
Like say “nah, this shit too expensive still, I can get better price else where”.
Give the vendor another, soft glance, hold it for 5 seconds and walk away. Two things will happen:
- Vendor says “hey man do the right thing! I give you cheaper price, final price!” – influenced by Russell Peters or;
- Vendor says “fuck you, get the fuck out”.
Hope this vendor is nice and offers you a cheaper price. Otherwise, you are going to look like a loser and will have to turn around and go back to accept the previous price.
This happened to me before, no worries.
So just walk away, like this little monk.
Tip # 5 – Know your maximum price and stick with it
Seriously – have a maximum price you are willing / comfortable to pay for things like these weird dresses (I think they are dresses):
There is no point in haggling when the final price is still over your budget.
This is a lesson from life boss, be within budget! Even though in Choi’s opinion most things in life will be over budget. But that’s for another blog post.
Now there is one thing in the market you should not negotiate about.
What is it Choi?
FOOD! Don’t haggle when it comes to food please!
It just makes you look like a damn loser. Plus the food at the Luang Prabang Night Market is already damn cheap, there is no point in haggling prices.
I haven’t seen anyone do this, so please don’t be the first one. Otherwise I am going to be annoyed at you.
Written from Luang Prabang, Villa Nagara on May 14, 2018