Does anyone advice on how to bargain when in port? I'm not one to bargain but know that merchants expect you to or pay full price which is overpriced. However, I don't want to insult anyone or look foolish.
9 times out of 10 if you hesitate a bit, say, "oh its so pretty, but i am just not sure, i want to think about it for a bit," or something like that the merchant will come back with a better offer, they know that if you walk out of their store the chances of you coming back are slim to none. especially when you are shopping for large ticket items.
The smaller independant stores are the ones who will be more than likely to give you the better prices as opposed to the bigger "chain" type stores.
Attend the port shopping lectures for great information and unadvertised discount specials at certain stores.
Simply ask nicely "is that your best price?" If they say yes, then just say "no thank-you" that's more than i wanted to spend" - and see how much the price drops.
I don't know how accurate this tidbit is, but it's worth keeping in mind for some Mexican ports at least. A passenger mentioned to us that he'd been told to expect to pay about 1/3 of the original asking price on items. When I calculated that based on what we'd been asked to pay for some small items that sounded like what they should have cost. The other posters' suggestions on how to nicely get the bargaining rolling sound great. I had no idea what to do the first time I was there. I feel ready to shop confidently now with their advice!
When in Costa Maya, they were ready to bargin when they knew I was leaving to board the ship to sail away. I didn't expect to get it for next to nothing, I know this is their income but was fun 'bargining' with them. Most would rather have less money than none
I got two great knock off pocketbooks, a Coach and a Gucci, for $50.00 for both. They were good size ones, not the small size. The woman first wanted $65.00 for the Coach and $70.00 for the Gucci. I put both bags back on the shelf and walked away. She came up to me and said, "Let's talk." Boy did we ever talk!!!!! The trick is not to let them see how interested you are in the product. Part of the fun of shopping in the straw market is to haggle. If you look hard and be patient, you can get some great bargains.
Most venders depending on tourist trade are willing to lower their prices alittle to a lot. The amount depends on the item or items. The more that you buy from one vender the bigger the discount you can expect.
We have some friends who live in Mazatlan. They explained to us that when the cruise ships come in...all the prices go UP...then, when the cruise ships leave...the prices go back DOWN again to their everyday prices.
If I find two things that I like, and feel a little uncomfortable asking for a discount (rare!) I just ask, "What is the discount if I buy both items?"
Most of the time it's 20% or MORE for buying several items.
If a vender is rude, crude or disrespectful...I make a official report of the incident to the Cruise line. There is no excuse for it. (referring to the swearing incident in Mazatlan)
The Day Wage in Mexico as of September 2005 was just over $4.00.
As a tourist in Mexico, or any where else in the world...I don't feel guilty bargaining. In some cultures it is expected and welcomed. In fact...here in the U.S. at flea markets, local farmers markets or gararge sales, I do the same...bargain for the best price. It's half the fun of shopping! I just don't insult the vender by offering BELOW half price for what ever item I'm interested in.