For some people it’s the reason to avoid particular shopping districts completely. Others find it an irresistible challenge. We’re talking about haggling, or, negotiating about the price. There’s no escaping it in Turkey.
If you visit Turkey as a tourist, you may sometimes get the feeling that haggling was invented just for non-Turks. But of course that’s not the case. Haggling, or, ‘price negotiation’ is an inextricable part of daily life here. And you’ll notice that entrepreneurs always have a calculator within easy reach.
Still, after living more than 10 years in Turkey, I’m feeling awkward when I have to bargain about a price. Born and raised in Holland, I never really had to deal with this matter. And it was not until I came to Alanya I was confronted with the fact that in many shops the price is negotiable. Even the sellers in those shops expect you to bargain!
For me, it remains a difficult thing. I feel uncomfortable and try to avoid it as much as I can. But I know people – also from countries where haggling is not a standard thing – who love it in Turkey. For them it’s like a sport.
Turks too will often haggle fiercely over the final price of, for example, furniture or clothing.
I’m afraid it’s true that traders often start off with a higher price where tourists are involved, with the inevitability that tourists usually end up paying more than a Turk would. However, what you don’t know can’t harm you, right? And, according to the ‘experts’, you did well if you left the shop with a good feeling, regardless of whether actually you bought anything!
Haggling in a nutshell: tips and tricks
- Don’t let on that you really want something, as this often results in an elevated price
- If you want to find out how much something costs, ask as if it you aren’t really bothered.
- Only start if you really are prepared to haggle for something. If you don’t really want something and the trader agrees to your offer, you could find yourself in a spot of embarrasment
- By paying close attention and asking poignant questions, try and establish what the going rate is and what Turkish people pay for something
- Try and avoid setting your sights on the impossible; decide in advance how much something is worth to you and try to arrive at that figure
- If you don’t agree to the trader’s final offer, politely say goodbye and walk away. If they call you back you know you can get the item cheaper. However, if they don’t call you back, you know your final offer was too low
- People generally do not haggle over the price of food products and beverages