The Art of Bargaining: Step by Step Guide

bargainingSince ancient times people in Baku used to bargain with merchants, offering lower prices for what they want and throughout the history locals learned the best tricks to get the lowest price possible. A rule of thumb for any foreigner visiting Azerbaijan or any person who is not well acquainted with local culture, is to know the tips and tricks to bargain. This article will show you how to spend less and still get what you really want.

1. Research the market

One of the worst things to do during your visit could be blind shopping without knowing the best areas to buy. For instance, the worst option to buy a souvenir would be buying it right beside the historical building that attracts tourists. Compare the prices around before your final decision.

2. Look like a local

Try to look like a cool random local who has known all these shops for thousand years. Look confident, make a direct eye contact with a seller and show no special enthusiasm. You will show the seller that you are not just a random tourist/expat, but the one who has a good idea of the market and local culture.

3. Ask the price and counteract

“Pay whatever you can pay” (Nə verərsən, verərsən – pronoun. NAH-VE-RAR-SAN, VE-RAR-SAN)- is the most common phrase you can hear from the people who want to sell you something. Never tell your price until he tells you first. Whatever the seller will tell you, make an  ironically surprised look and tell the lower price. If he says 10 AZN – say 5 AZN. If it’s too low, he will minimize the initial price to the minimal he can offer.

4. Control the situation

Leave the place if you couldn’t agree with the price. If he doesn’t want you to leave before you buy something, the chances are he will call you back by offering the lowest price possible. If it doesn’t happen, don’t worry. You can either come back again later or just agree on the final price.

5. Get a discount

If you have bought several things from one place, don’t hesitate to ask for a discount. Again, you can name your overall price for all the things you bought.

6. Taxi

Besides shopping places, you can also bargain with taxi drivers. Offer 50% of what they offered to you. Normal price for a local to agree with taxi is 80% of the first price, but if you don’t speak local language there is more chance that you will be told a higher price. However, if you use official taxis (purple London style taxi) there is no need for bargain. The official price  is 0.70 AZN/km (for first 10 km).
Don’t show much zeal in bargaining. If you’re ready to pay reasonable price for something you really want, just do it. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time.

Image credit: Nick Taylor