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How to haggle in Egypt and anywhere

Haggling rules for Egypt and anywhere

The first times, when you need to haggle and negotiate about the prices in Egypt or anywhere you may feel hard and uncomfortable. Or strange. Probably you don’t have any idea how to haggle in Egypt or anywhere. Especially if you are not used to doing it. Here are the best tips for haggling in Egypt and anywhere.

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Some parts of the world, haggling is the norm. For example, in Egypt, China, Turkey, Indonesia or Thailand you are expected to bargain. This is why it’s good to know the basic rules for haggling. After reading this post, you’ll feel more comfortable and less stressed about negotiating the prices. So, here you go:

The best tips for how to haggle in Egypt and anywhere.

I have good news for the ones who are not used to haggle. Even if it makes you feel hard and sticky in the beginning, don’t stop. Haggle, bargain and negotiate and you’ll become better! The more you haggle, the better you became.

So, here are my tips for becoming a professional haggler in Egypt and anywhere!

Next: What is haggling?

What is haggling?

Haggling is also called bargaining. Haggling is negotiating about the price of a product. The negotiating usually happens between the seller and the buyer. Together they try to accomplish and decide the price, that is suitable for both parties. In the end, both sides should feel good and satisfied.

When you should haggle?

Like said, in Egypt, you are expected to haggle and bargain. If there are no price tags try to get the best price. When buying souvenirs and other things sold for tourists, there is no need to be shy. You are expected to haggle. If you don’t, the only one who’s happy is a vendor.

Even, it may feel embarrassing in the beginning, continue. It’s not rude. Haggling is a big show and not everyone is good at it (including me). The vendor has been acting like this for years and knows what he’s doing. But also you’ll learn, who knows how good you are going to be after one week of haggling.

Take it as an experience of negotiation. Forget all the negative things concerning haggling and let go! Enjoy! It is supposed to be fun!

how to haggle. Souks and bazaars are the best places to improve haggling skills.
Souks and bazaars are the best places to improve haggling skills. Image: Metwallyphotos (Wikimedia commons)

When not to bargain?

If the shop has fixed prices, there is no need to haggle. Also restaurants, cafes or bars are not the best places to put the price down.

A good rule to remember is: If there is some service included, don’t bargain.

Don’t start haggling, if you are not going to buy anything. It’s a waste of time.

Also, if the thing you are about to buy is very cheap already, it’s not probably worth haggling. For example, the glass bottles filled with sand are so cheap in Egypt, that I would rather pay some extra than try to put the price down.

Next: How to bargain? The basic rules for haggling in Egypt and anywhere.

How to haggle? The basic rules for bargaining in Egypt and anywhere

Haggling can be hard and sometimes people who are not used to haggle may make mistakes. It’s acceptable. To avoid mistakes, get to know the currency you are dealing with. Also, don’t show all your money to the vendor, if I go shopping I have little money every pocket.

Read more: The currency in Egypt | Egyptian pound L.E.

When talking about haggling mistakes, I want to a mistake I remember forever

I was in Hurghada Egypt for a holiday with my friend. We went shopping wanted to buy sunglasses from a street vendor.  We were negotiating a lot and finally, we managed to make a deal with him. Let’s say we ended up paying 30 Egyptian pounds for sunglasses. When it was time to pay, I noticed that I had only 25 Pounds with me. I had bigger notes but somehow I thought that he doesn’t have change (I don’t know why).

Even my friend didn’t have small money with her. So, I started to bargain again and offered him 25 LE. instead of 30 which we had dealt about. He became very angry. He started to shout at us and refused to sell the glasses.

Next: The basic rules for haggling

The First rule is: Don’t change the price after you have made a deal, as I did. What I learned from this, don’t continue haggling after the price has settled.

The second rule: Don’t show your interest in a certain product.

This is probably the hardest one. When you visit a shop and see something interesting you want to buy, hide your enthusiasm. You need to act like you are not interested. Ask the prices of many products and not just one. When the seller notice you want something really badly, the price will go higher, for sure.

The third rule: Offer half or less of what you are prepared to pay.

Before starting, think what is the highest price you are willing to pay? What is the product worth for you? How much you are willing to pay?

Start haggling from the half of the price you are prepared to pay. Ask around the prices from a few shops or go to visit big souvenir shops with fixed prices to have a clue about the prices. Shops with fixed prices are usually a little bit more expensive than the shops with negotiable prices.

If you know some locals, you can always ask if they know what the goods cost. It’s even better if you have a TRUSTED local with who to shop.

What is the price you are willing to pay?

The fourth rule: Let the seller set up the first price.

Let the seller say the first price, most likely it’s possible to get the thing at least for half of the price he asks.

Some sellers start from really high prices! They know people expected to get at least half of, so the price they ask in the beginning can be even 10-times higher.

They may even claim that the Gucci bag you are interested in to buy is original not a replica. Don’t fall on these tricks!

The fifth rule: Don’t give up easily.

Start from the low and bargain until you both are happy. After the seller has set up the first price, tell your own offer. Continue until you both are happy.

Remember that the main goal for the seller is to sell something, neither or you are happy if you leave the shop without buying anything. Walk away with a smile and in the end, everyone is happy.

The sixth rule: Don’t get angry or annoyed.

Haggling is a big theatre and you have a big role to play. Be shameless but in a good way. Smile! Fight for the price and don’t give up easily.

Be polite and if you know any local words use them.

The seventh rule: There is no need to feel embarrassed.

There is no need to feel embarrassed. For the ones, who are not used to haggle, first haggling in Egypt may feel uncomfortable. But when you get used to it, it can be fun. In Egypt, it is ok and expected to bargain. If the shop has fixed prices, there is no need to haggle.

The Eight rule: If start to feel uncomfortable, walk away.

You can always walk away in case you start to feel uncomfortable. Haggling is supposed to be like a good negotiation, dramatic yes, but not uncomfortable.

If you feel like you’re pushed to buy something, you don’t want, there is no need to continue, just because you want to be polite.

The ninth rule:

Most use walking away as a negotiating tactic. If the negotiating doesn’t go anywhere, leave the shop. usually, the seller goes after you, if he doesn’t, he’s not willing to sell the product for the price you want. You can always return back later.

The tenth rule: Have fun!

This the most important rule. Have fun! Don’t take it too seriously!

The purpose of haggling is to find a price that makes you and the seller happy.

Here were my tips for how to haggle in Egypt and anywhere. Do you have more tactics to share with us?


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