Barter Dos and Don'ts

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Hong Kong

Barter Dos and Don'ts Reviews

michaelforry michaelf…
3 reviews
How to Barter Mar 03, 2011
Before we start, some people are better equipped at bartering than others but don't be detered by past experiences. I think the best attribute or at least the best attribute to fake is being thick skinned. These market vendors (most shops in HK even those on streets where there are markets will not barter).

To start most people new to HK are unsure where and when to barter. The general rules that I use is

1) if there is no price- barter, barter, barter

2) but also whenever I barter I do not rate my bartering like most people i.e. How much I got the vendor down by, but how happy I am with the price I bought at, irrespective of where the vendor started. And so if I am not happy with a price stated by a vendor orally but also if given with a sign there is no harm in asking, as my mum always says; if you don't ask you don't get.

General tips

1) be polite, cheerful and wear a smile

2) do not be put off by the vendors' abrupt nature, sob story or "cost price ". They are professional market vendors, part of their job is to barter. If you are not a local, i.e. Can not speak cantonese to a level where they assume you are local to HK they will assume you have money than sense.

3) start well below the price you would be happy to pay. Give yourself space.

4) the best trick and weapon in your arsenal is "the walk away". It is very powerful weapon but don't do as one of my friends' did to our amusement and walk away after been given the vendor's first price.

5) another powerful weapon is the old "show your money trick" - I would use this when you have reached a stalemate, and you are stating a price very close to or are at your preferred price. They love the sight of money.

Don't be scared. Practice makes perfect. Happy bartering!
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