In the Dominican Republic, Some travelers pay double or up to triple the cost of an object that they could acquire for less money, and all because of ignorance of how to request a discount in this scenario. The reality is that bargaining without having the slightest idea of the real price is very difficult, and more so if the seller is not very honest to say. What makes things a bit more complicated is that the rules of the game vary in each country.
For this article, I want to give the following ideas to those who feel that curiosity to haggle and not know where to start. I do not want to consider myself an expert in this field, but I think I know what is necessary to guide who is interested in knowing, so here we go:
Before deciding to buy something, take your time and go from store to store. If you have gone to a craft market, you will have noticed how the same product can be found in several stalls. After you have seen the cost of the merchandise that catches your eye, visit the other stores and find out the price so you can get an idea of how much you can lower a price by haggling.
2- Maintain a polite, positive and smiling attitude
They say that the smile opens doors and is no exception when haggling. Instead of shopping and thinking those who come to attend you will only do so to get you money in a dishonest way, go with a mentality that radiates joy, confidence and brings out the best in your person.
3- Remember that both you and the seller must win
What do I mean by this? That it would make you happy to get something without feeling that you are paying others, but it is not about the seller losing out. That is why I believe that bargaining should be done with the best of intentions, without taking advantage of humble people who need a good sale to feel better financially at the end of the day.
4- Do not show too much interest
A rule that is so simple and that it is forgotten. It happens to us when we see that desired object and get so excited that happiness overflows through the pores. Act as if the merchandise you want to buy does not steal your calm in the least. Otherwise, the merchant can take advantage of your emotions and will want to charge you others.
5- Always pay with the local currency
This advice is more for people who come from countries with strong currencies in the market (dollar and euro). You can count on a known and even unofficially accepted currency in almost all shops, but the most sensible thing would be to pay in local currency. Otherwise, I doubt they will charge you a fair price.
6- Use the famous “leave” tactic
At first, I thought this technique was somewhat absurd, and I still remember how some travelers talked to me about how they put it into practice during their travels while listening to them with some disbelief. In the Dominican Republic you could realize how great it is when you execute it fully.
It consists of leaving the place if you feel that they are giving you a more expensive price than what is usually charged. Almost always the seller will end up going after you to offer you a lower value of the original. If it does not succeed in running around you, better look elsewhere where you can buy cheaper.
7- Avoid looking wealthy
I know that some travelers are so clueless that they forget them and it is normal, but they must keep in mind that, if they want to succeed haggling, they do not look at that iPhone or HD video camera in front of the seller. Do it and I promise you will not receive any type of discount.
8- Try to carry small denomination bills
Unless you want to complicate when paying, nothing better than carrying single and low denomination bills. I recommend it, first of all, because you save time by paying at once, unlike doing it with a high ticket and wait for them to bring you back, whether the seller has cash or not.
The second is that, by having small bills, you can afford to say “but this is all I have with me”, which will make sellers think that you do not have much money and if they are very desperate they will prefer not to lose the sale and they want you to buy them with what you have.
It is worth mentioning that these tips can be implemented not only to buy a product, but also to take a taxi or look for a tour. Haggling I consider it more like a healthy hobby, and seeing it this way will help you not to get very angry if things don’t go as expected.