January 27, 2016

HOW TO: Haggling in the Philippines

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    When looking for the best deal out of anything you want to buy, people usually go for one of these options: window-shop for the best deal, look for coupons, wait for payday or seasonal sales, go to bazaars, and haggle.

    Window shopping until you find the best deal is okay, but it can take up most of your time, especially if you’re in the Philippines. A lot of stores offer the same things for sale at varying prices and deals, so it’s unwise to go window shopping for one product.

    Couponing is not exactly a thing in the Philippines, thanks in large part to the Department of Trade and Industry not covering them under their policies. This doesn’t mean that anyone looking to find the best deal, or at least save on that item you really want to buy.

    Haggling, or talking to someone about getting a better price, is a common thing in the country. It’s not uncommon to hear your workmate brag about getting their new bag, shoe, or even mobile phone at a discount you would not expect.

    Filipinos are known for their haggling since we place a high value on saving money. This is why malls are filled to the brim whenever there’s a sale. It’s also why almost every Filipino knows where Divisoria, or at least their town’s version of it, is.

    Divisoria, in particular, is a great place to shop for the best deals. There are malls here, but the culture of haggling is still as strong as it has always been. You can click here if you want to know more about Divisoria. Other places where haggling is common would be St Francis Square and Greenhills Shopping Center, as well as every other market in the Philippines (especially ones close to tourist destinations).

    Haggling is something that nearly every Filipino knows how to do. While everyone has their own way of doing it, here are a few general tips to help you get started:

    • Be friendly. Smile and be friendly to the seller. Most sellers are very approachable and are open to haggling, so don’t be afraid. Remember: they’re making an honest living, so don’t try and pull the angry-customer-give-me-a-discount trick, because it doesn’t work.

    • Establish good rapport with the seller. This is very important, as this is where you can find out if you can get a better deal without you having to ask for it. While the definition of haggling is “to talk or argue over the cost of something”, in the Philippines you don’t need to argue. Who knows, you might even get more than you bargained for (i.e. a friend).

    • Tell them you’ll be coming back more often, especially if they’re always in the same area. Being a suki (known in other cultures as a regular or a patron) always helps you get better prices or deals.

    • Compare their product/prices to another stall, even if you’ve never visited others to begin with. Yes, it’s cheeky (or downright wrong for some people), but this is a good way of letting them know you want their product more than the other stalls. It sets you up for a relationship with the seller, since you like their product more even if it’s the same as the other stalls.

    If they don’t lower the price for one item, ask them if they can include other items with the one you want. It’s still haggling: they’ll get more of your money, but the net cost of the product you want will drop since you will be getting a bargain price for more items.

    When all else fails, walk away. If you can’t seem to agree with them on the price, you’ll have to walk away and really find another stall. However, since they themselves want a sale, they’ll usually give in to your terms if you haven’t been rude to them. Yes, it may seem rude to walk away, but you didn’t really commit to anything beforehand. If they don’t, you can always look for a better deal elsewhere.

    These are just some of the ways you can get that better deal by haggling. Of course, you have to remember that this only applies to places like Divisoria (i.e. the tiangge/ukay-ukay kind of stalls). Malls don’t do haggling, so if there’s a price on a product you like, that’s it.

    Try these out, and you might just get that new shirt for a lower price. Don’t forget to smile!


    Article by Andrew Del Rosario
    Photo courtesy of www.wetravelandblog.com

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