BAJA NEGOTIATING TIPS
One of the fun things about visiting Baja is that the asking prices of many items and services available to tourists are 'soft'. That means that, depending on a host of variables, some vendors or service providors may be flexible as to the final price.
Seasoned travelers who have been to many different countries understand that bargaining is a very normal custom in many parts of the world. In the United States however, except for swap meets, flea markets and garage sales, most asking prices from sellers and service providers are usually not flexible. Maybe that's why most of us enjoy occassional visits to swap meets, flea markets, and garage sales!
Along with the fun that comes with haggling out a good sales price comes some degree of social responsibility and/or tact. It does little good to hammer on a vendor with unreralistic tactics and expectations, and in some cases bad negotiating causes hard feelings. A few simple groung rules are provided here as helpful suggestions when shopping in Baja.
Pesos or dollars, they're both fun to spend in Baja!
BE A REAL BUYER
Over the years Carlos Fiesta has sat on the sidelines and watched many people haggling with a vendor where the buyer had no genuine intention of actually buying the product. While this may be a fun excercise for the buyer, it is a waste of the vendor's time and of no real value to the system. A simple price inquiry is not a problem, but a 15 minute haggle session just for the sake of haggling is usually a waste of everyone's time.
UNDERSTAND THE VENUE
Not every establishment in Baja has flexible prices. While a vendor pushing a cart through town might be very flexible on his or her prices, a vendor in a fancy shop on a main shopping street will probably not be as flexible. In general, the more substantial the sales venue is the less likely they are going to want to reduce their prices.
INITIAL OFFERING PRICE
Some people who have a sincere desire to purchase an object start off by making an initial price offering that is nothing short of rediculous. While there is no hard and fast rule for the initial price offering, starting off with an initial price of one half of the vendor's asking price (or higher) will get the process off to a good start and a compromise price can usually be met somewhere in the middle.
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN
Buyers who really want to get a good deal can usually get the best price when buying more than one of any item being purchased. A key element in making this negotiating tip work in the buyer's favor is to hold off on informing the vendor that you are interested in buying more than one item until after you have gotten the price down as far a possible while negotiating on one single item. An additional price discount may then be available when purchasing two or more of the items in question.
SET AN UPPER PRICE LIMIT
While haggling can be fun, buyers often set a price in the back of thier mind that they will not exceed. Whether this price is realistic or not is another point. But picking an upper limit on the price you are willing to pay is a powerful tool towards getting a good deal or moving on to something more important...like that next Pina Colada.
CASH ONLY PLEASE
Except in some of the smaller shops in certain towns, negotiating a great price on an object often eliminates the option of paying for the sale with a credit card. While some shops may accept credit cards, vendors on the move generlly are not set up to swipe your gold card. Dollars or pesos...no problem. Plastic? Lo siento mucho.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Whether of not your grand plan to purchase an object at a good price is successful or not, it's always a good idea to end the buyer/vendor relationship on good terms. A simple and sincere 'muchas gracis' at the end of a negotiating bout goes a long way towards keeping the buying process a respectful experience for both parties.
TELL A FRIEND
Sometimes the process of negotiating opens up the door to a service or item that really is a great deal. Why not do yourself, your friends and the vendor a favor and pass on the great find to someone else who will appreciate it. Whatever goes around...
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