Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How To Find A Bargain At The Local Markets

Some weekends we go bargain hunting down at the local markets, and last Saturday it was the turn of the arts and crafts market. A customer was talking to one of the stall holders, and the first question he asked was could he get a certain product for half price!

The stall holder was somewhat surprised at this request. Whilst you can expect to negotiate prices from market traders, asking for half price is not going to win any friends in some countries, whereas in other countries that is an accepted part of the process.

Sometimes you'll find stall holders have marked-up their products knowing customers are seeking large discounts. They may catch unsuspecting tourists who don't even think to negotiate the prices, and then happily part with the price as marked.

Finding a market stall that is owner operated gives you a far better chance of being able to negotiate the sale price, though when looking at new products, you'll have less chance of finding bargains.

Our local market has many stalls selling second-hand goods, often purchased from garage sales in the area, reminding me of the saying: "One man's trash is another man's treasure". Some of it really is junk, though if you look closely you'll occasionally stumble across a bargain. When that happens, you need to have a poker face.

The secret is not to show too much interest when you find a bargain. We wait for the market trader to make a quick mental calculation based on how much they have paid to purchase the item, and how much profit they think they can make on the item. Often they have really little idea of what a customer would be prepared to pay, and it's a case of the first person to speak loses!

The market stall holder may ask:"How much would you like to pay?" Rather than answer, I'll just give a quizzical look. Or the other option is that the stall holder may say:"That's ten dollars", in which case I'll also give a quizzical look.

Have you ever noticed how in these situations, after a few seconds that silence becomes awkward and uncomfortable? It only feels that way if you let it feel that way. I've been in situations where they'll say, "OK, I can knock two dollars off!".

You see, the first person to speak next loses.

A favorite trick is then to walk away. If you hear them shout after you, you know that you've got a chance of a further reduction of the advertised price.

The great thing about a finding a bargain is that you made a purchase at a price that you feel is below what you would have been prepared to pay. It's nothing to do with what other people would pay. And often it's nothing to do with the real value of an item.

Part of the fun in finding a bargain at the local markets is in the search, not the purchase. Another part is the price negotiation, and the satisfaction that you believe that you've saved money on an item that you have been searching for a while to find.

We've found that by chatting to the stall holder, taking an interest in what they do, and who they are, will often lead to discovering some surprises and some true bargains, as they open up to you and reveal some hidden gems that they may have "forgotten" about and are not on display.

Have fun, be relaxed, take an interest, and you could soon be finding some great bargains at the local markets.

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