Depending on where you are in the world the following sentence may prompt a few different responses.
Haggling is an art form.
For some, haggling might be uncouth, for some it might be a way of life, and for some it might seem like a great idea but scary in practice. I fall squarely into the last group, so this is an my love letter to haggling, and some useful advice from someone who learned about it in a trial by fire.
My lessons were learned in the Muscat souk, gifted with a guide who helped us find the most beautiful silver bangles and lanterns that glisten in the light. Now sat under the grey skies of northern England it just takes one glance to be transported back to the heat and passion of endless Omani skies and the covered market that juxtaposed it all perfectly.
It often feels like pantomime
Wandering through the souks of Muscat it’s impossible not to be drawn into the show of shopping. There are good guys and bad guys, prices that seem to be offensive enough to wake the dead, great groans of sadness followed by pleas for people to return. It’s an awful lot like pantomime, and if you want to succeed you’ll need to accept your role as the villain, because ultimately, you have to be if you want the best deal. You want the best deal.
The thing is, you’re the hero in your story and when you recount your epic victory the villain role switches and it’s all a matter a perspective.
You can walk away and then change your mind
It’s too easy to get sucked into what you think is a deal, only to have that flutter of uncertainty right before money exchanges hand. You have the right to walk away, you really do. You also have the option to come back. Most sellers will be happy with a sale at any time, there’s no shame in coming back once you’ve compared the wares available from other shops. You are the buyer after all.
But, with all this said, you should know that the price you get upon returning might not be as fantastic as the one you first negotiated. Pro tip, if you buy two rather than one of an item (gifting opportunity) you might be able to get your painstakingly negotiated price back.
You need this skill for your daily life
When you’re kicking ass out in the real world (if you’re not blessed enough to be exploring the world all day every day) haggling is a vital skill. It could be with your new boss over that raise you have earned or with your phone provider (there’s always a better deal to be found). Haggling is more or less negotiating with the passion turned up, and you have room in your life for that. When you need that boost in life, falling back to your haggling character is a great temporary fix.
Just know that you’re not going to be perfect the first time around, and haggling is like any skill, you improve with practice. In the mean time it’s important to celebrate every step of your haggling journey,
Be the hero, your hero and keep your hands still as you negotiate — it makes you look more confident.