Bargaining at Sele La camp (4290m) on the way from Kangchenjunga North to South Base Camp
In most non-western countries, the price of goods and even taxis are not THE price. It's simply a
starting point for negotiations.
You have to get over your Western mentality and join in the fun. Here are a
- If you want to buy something specifically, ask your trekking guide or
tour leader for
how much they would pay for it. Add a little bit above that, and you've got
a reasonable "walking position" (i.e. if I can't get that price, I'll walk
out of the store and go somewhere else).
- Don't waste their time. Make sure you want the item, before starting the
- Make sure they give the opening offer. "Where you from? Ah Canada, great
country! Because I like you and you are such a nice man, I'll give you a
real bargain. Just 500 rupees."
- Your first counter-bid should typically be about half. "Yeah, I really
love it. Hmm, how about 200 rupees?"
- The question now is, do they come back with an immediate counter-offer or
not. They may hem and haw, talk about how good the product is, how poor they,
how rich you are, etc..
- If they're dragging their heals on a counter offer, simply start to walk
- The counter offer will come for sure. "ok mister, I can give to you,
such a nice man, for 400 rupees."
- Continue this back and forth a few more times, "250" - "350", "300"
Two closing remarks:
- One is that no matter how low you were able to bargain them down,
they got the better of you.
- Remember to put the cost into perspective. One time in Brazil, I
bargained extremely hard, and the difference was only one dollar.