Try these tips to help you bargain while in Bangkok
In Thailand, as in many parts of the world, bargaining is a way of life. But travelers from the West often feel as though they’re playing a game and don’t know the rules. Bargaining can be fun, though, and leave everyone satisfied. When you head to Bangkok for the 2012 RI Convention, 6-9 May, remember a few tips to help release your inner haggler:
In malls and department stores, prices are fixed, but at market stalls and in smaller shops, you can always try your hand at bargaining.
If you’re interested in buying something, ask how much it is. Then regard the item for a few moments, and make an offer a little below what you’d like to pay (or what you think the price should be). A little research before you get to the market will improve your hand.
Loat noi dai mai krup/kha? means “Can you give a little discount?” Dai means yes, Mai dai means no. Sometimes the vendor will name a price, and you can offer another price, followed by dai mai?
This is not an adversarial process. You are trying to arrive at a mutually agreeable price. You want to bargain, not to insult, and starting too low can end the deal before it begins. Also, don’t rush. Engage the seller in small talk. Bargaining is as much a social interaction as an economic transaction.
You probably won’t get the same price that locals would. Beyond popular tourist areas, though, you can get close.
If you feel uncomfortable with the final price, say you’d like to think about it, and move along. You can clear your head and come back if you decide it’s something you want at a cost you can live with.
Register for the 2012 RI Convention by 1 May at www.rotary.org/convention, or on-site at the convention. Read more stories from The Rotarian or sign up for the digital edition.