How to Haggle with Street Vendors

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When I graduated from high school, my grandmother took me on a cruise to Bermuda and the Bahamas. For a teenager from the suburbs of Connecticut, this was an eye opening experience. It was my first cruise and the first time I was exposed to anything other than your traditional stores.

How to haggle with street vendors

How to Haggle with Street Vendors

Even at 17, I loved to shop but I was used to walking into the store and paying the price on the price tag. Haggling didn’t play a part in my shopping experiences. Learning how to haggle with street vendors was a new experience.

  • Don’t expect it to be real. You’re not going to find a Rolex or a Louis Vuitton for $80 from a street vendor. If they tell you that you are, they’re lying. I’m not a fan of knock off goods. If I want a name, I want it to be real. Instead, focus on items that are unique and one of a kind like handmade goods.
  • Be firm but be polite. Unlike stores, they don’t have to sell you anything. They can just as easily pack it up and take it home at the end of the day.
  • Know your budget. Before you begin bargaining, know what you’re willing to pay for the item and stick to it. These street vendors are experts at getting you to go just a little bit higher.
  • Low ball first. If you find something you like marked $30, offer $10. Then they come down slightly & you go up slightly until you meet in the middle where you’re both happy.
  • Suggest you can find it somewhere else cheaper. If they aren’t willing to drop the price where you want, thank them politely and suggest you can probably find it cheaper at another vendor. They may lower the price to make the sale.
  • Do not praise the item while shopping. If you mention to your husband that the necklace you’re admiring is just the perfect thing to go with your new dress, the vendor is much less likely to come down on his price.
  • Look at the item carefully. Examine the item carefully. Is the hem poorly stitched? Is the handbag scuffed? Is there a chip in the earring? Street vendors do not generally take returns. Choose carefully.
  • Suggest an add on. If you cannot quite get the price where you want it, suggest an add on. Are you in love with the jacket? Ask if he will toss in that cute scarf too for the same price.

Haggling with street vendors is half the fun of shopping there. You can find some truly amazing deals if you follow these tips.

How to haggle with street vendors - 8 tips

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Comments

  1. NYC sometimes has the same deal. I went to the Bahamas as well with my family when younger, and also Mexico, and it was eye-opening for me as well, that I could haggle to get deals :).

  2. I am probably the worst haggler ever (also coming from the suburbs of CT… I see a pattern here haha) But these are some great tips!!! 

  3. I am a terrible haggler too, so this is really helpful. The one trick that has worked for me in the past is to go in with the exact amount I want to spend – the vender can take it or leave it. I have purchased three used cars this way!

  4. The Farmer’s Market is probably the closest I’ve been to street vendors. I’m not great about haggling, so this list really helps.

  5. Selling things at a Farmer’s market it can get pretty old when everyone is trying to get you to lower your prices on things you worked very hard on. I appreciate looking for a deal but not everything is overpriced. It’s actually one of the reasons I stopped selling my soap at markets. It just got tiresome.

    I know with street vendors it’s a whole other ballgame.

    • That’s very true, Patty. You definitely need to be aware of what things are worth. I used to have an online crafts business and I experienced that myself.

  6. Jenna Wood says

    My favorite street shopping tactic is to bundle, it works every time. Of course I end up buying more, but it’s such a great deal, I don’t mind! Thanks for sharing the wonderful tips!