A foreigner’s guide to the best price while bargaining with Indians

Unless you have a degree in haggling or winning in a debate is a critical requirement for you, bargaining in India is grueling. It is one skill which probably is in the blood of every Indian.

Be it an expensive watch or a pair of slippers or daily groceries on the streets, Indians just cannot buy stuff on seller’s first quote. Pulling out money from our wallets! That sure is one herculean task. 

Founder of Hotmail, Sabeer Bhatia imputed the bargaining skills that he developed in vegetable markets of Bangalore for getting Microsoft to propel its acquisition for Hotmail from $160 million to $400 million. Bill Gates soon realized and has made a couple of visits to India since then. LOL 😀

So that pretty much explains that it is highly probable that you won’t win a deal while shopping here in India, here are a few easy ways in which you can aim to minimize the loss.


PC: @blogspot
PC: @blogspot

Some bottom lines first:

  • Try shopping at the beginning or the end of the day. An Indian salesperson is often superstitious and tries to start off and end the day at fair notes.
  • Never wear extra fancy clothes. You might miss out on your bargaining power a great number of notches.
  • If you are a young lady, kudos to you as the brightest smiles and multiple cute “Please’s” would do the trick for you.
  • You must, however, refrain yourself from bargaining with local vegetable sellers, rickshaw-pulers and at restaurants, train/bus/airplane tickets or for the entrance fee to tourist attractions. Not only it won’t get you anywhere, it is in bad taste too.


Also read, 9 Tips to reduce cost while traveling in India


Do prior market research

Be patient and do some research for the reasonable (best) price of the desired product across a few other shops in the market. Talk to locals and fellow travelers for the same and arm yourself with research before pulling out those greenies.


PC: @thebetterindia
PC: @thebetterindia


Keep your facial expressions neutral

Once you are done with the research and have your eyes on the target product, it’s time for some real action. Don’t just pounce on it at once. Ask for prices of a number of other items in one go and slide your target product in about halfway through.

The aim is to not let the salesperson know that you are interested in a particular item. Just as you do as you play poker. Remain indifferent.

Even if you are well aware of the specifications of the product, ask questions that challenge the product’s durability and quote instances that you have had in the past with such products. Here, you pretend to be in a situation where you are on the verge of declining the product but something is keeping you from doing that and hence, a favorable price quote can help you buy it. 


PC: @desime
PC: @desime

The Big wrestle

Now, past the buyer-seller foreplay, it’s time for the great price tussle.

Make sure you let the seller quote the first price. Even if there is a tag which clearly mentions the price, just ask. Remember, it happens very often that these sellers would quadruple the prices, for which you need to be equally unreasonable.

Once he quotes the first figure, react to it as if you are taken aback. Quote around half the price straight away. Now, the shopkeeper would take a few steps back and you shall take a few very small steps ahead.

There shall come a point when the shopkeeper would deny taking any steps back, turn around and refuse to buy the product. As you start to leave, chances are the seller would drag you back in the argument and quote a reasonable price.

Now, pull out the amount that you want to pay for the product in cash. A seller, after spending a lot of time and energy with you like to have a smaller profit rather than none. Be careful to not flash extra cash around, though. After a little more negotiation, you can give in to the deal.


PC: @tripcrafters
PC: @tripcrafters

All said GetMeCab will be more than delightful to take care of all your travel concerns as you travel along the beautiful and interesting land of India. Simply visit www.getmecab.com or call on 24×7 customer support helpline +91 90 1515 4545


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