I have had extensive practice with the "art of negotiating" while on vacation and here is a techique that has never failed me:
Most vendors I have found can be extremely overbearing (especially in Jamaica and Mexico). I realize that this isn't always the case, but more often than not, if you so much as take a double glance at an item, they are immediatly all over you wanting to start the negotiating process.
So you see an item that you want or are interested in. You will next and most obviously ask "how much?" The vendor will now give you the inflated price of the item. When you balk, then the vendor will then ask "how much will you give me?" DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION!. You are now playing verbal/mental chess with the vendor and if you put any value whatsoever to the object, you are now playing right into the negotiating game to the vendor's advantage. He has set the HIGH and you have set the LOW. Your LOW might also be 30 percent or more than you might be able to get the item for by using my technique. Here is the response that you will keep using (even if you have to say it 20 times)....
"IS THAT YOUR LOWEST PRICE?" No matter what the response by the vendor, it is important that you NEVER-EVER set a price that you are willing to pay.
Now you need to back up the above statement with a little bit of acting, by looking as if you are only lukewarm to the item and couldn't care less if you get it or not. No matter what price he (or she) gives you, put the item back on the shelf or hand it back to the vendor and say that's more than I wanted to pay/I've seen the item for less (not saying how much)/wow/I am going to have to think about it/etc. No matter what, you are leaving because this is when the price starts to serioulsy drop. Here's a scenario. You have found an item that the vendor say is $50.00. You ask if that is his lowest price. He then asks how much will you offer. You reiterate that you want the lowest price. You go to leave. He says would you give me $30.00. You ask if that is your lowest price. You go to leave. He now asks if you will give him $25.00. If you want to be argumentative at this stage, you could reply...I thought $30.00 was your lowest price (doesn't really matter because you are already beating him up mentally), but I generally at this point I will say that I want to cut through the chase and I just want to know what the lowest price is and I will then make a decision...can you do that so that I am not stuck here. At this point he might say that the $25.00 is his lowest price or maybe he will make another drop. No matter what, the only way you will find the true rock bottom price is by continually repeating the above steps until finally when you are leaving he is no longer dropping the price. You might even go into the shop next door, then try doing a "walk by" of the vendor to see if there is another price drop.
I have had vendors giving me a $50.00 item on several occasions for under $10.00. If I had countered on that same item with an offer of $20.00, I surely never would have paid under $10.00.
Never, and I mean NEVER SET THE PRICE or answer the question "How much are you willing to pay" as these are both negotiating disasters.
If you try my technique I guarantee you that you will be astonished at how low some of these venders will go.
AT TIMES YOU WILL FEEL AS THOUGH YOU HAVE STOLEN THE ITEM!
By the way, Vendors hate this technique, but who cares...I hate getting screwed!
I hope this helps you!
P.S. I would like to hear any other techniques that you might have, that will expand on this, so that we can all be the most savy negotiators. I also have more, but I thought this was a good start.