Price Haggling and Negotiation Norms in Sri Lanka
Haggling over an agreeable price between the seller and buyer is a part of the normal negotiation practices in many countries throughout the world. Countries such as China, Turkey, Egypt and Sri Lanka allow the vendors to create some leeway in their selling price and it is important for visitors to these countries to do their best to avoid being ripped off or feeling cheated.
One known fact when visiting Sri Lanka is that the vendors will quote a price far greater than the amount they hope to receive come the final sale if a deal can be amicably achieved between the seller and purchaser.
For first time visitors to the country the practice of haggling may seem a little off putting at first, especially if the price quoted seems far higher than what you hope to pay. It is important to remain within your budget and not get carried away with the bidding process.
The secret is to begin with a price as ridiculously low as the vendors is high, this gives you plenty of room to negotiate with. If your initial bid is too high then the likelihood of your getting a bargain is virtually nil. Laugh at the initial bid by the vendor or show astonishment at his or her high bid. Indicate that you know the items real monetary value, negotiating is very much a game of bluff and counter bluff.
Once you have reached a price close to the maximum that you are willing to pay, walk away. You will then instantly receive a lower price from the vendor than they previously offered. You may also hear a story as they are now virtually giving it away and will not be able to feed their family. These are common stories and they will not sell it at a loss.
A good way is to observe how the locals deal with these sometimes complex negotiations before you step in to buy something, if possible take a local but trusted friend along to assist you in the negotiations. Do not show to the vendor how much you need the item as this will affect the price.
During the negotiation process for your price haggling be strong and do not allow the vendor to control the situation, they are conducting this type of deal many times each day and are usually very experienced in the price haggling process. It is important that you remain courteous and friendly throughout the process and if it is conducted with a smile on your face you may find the sale is completed for a lower price than you expected.
Depending on the item or items you are buying or hoping to buy the negotiations could take just a minute or two or they could become very complex and take a little longer. In some cases you may be offered tea or some light snacks. Once you have accepted these gifts you are not compelled to buy it is purely a gesture on the part of the seller and although these sweeteners are offered to you then it is important you stay focused and not become riddled with guilt for accepting the vendors hospitality.
In many cases the same item will be available at a nearby stall or store. So do not buy the first one you see, take a good look around and do not show too much of an indication of how much you want an item as this could easily affect the final price you may have to pay.
It is important that you know how much the item is worth before you begin the negotiation process, you can avoid the haggling process by simply stating that you will pay a certain price and then it is up to the vendor as to whether or not they accept your offer.
Once you make an offer you are committed to that price if the vendor accepts it. Do not go through the bargaining process if you have no intention of buying, in some cases if the item you want is not available at the price you like then try another vendor. The art of haggling is to find an agreeable price, mutually beneficial to both parties. Remember to remain calm and in good humour throughout the haggling process.