Haggling

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For some people, haggling can be the most intimidating task. For some, it can be annoying and time consuming. Whatever negative feelings this activity causes for you, try to see the bright side of it: after all, haggling is a holistic cultural experience.
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If you’re from Europe or North America, chances are the prices are mostly fixed and clearly noted. Vietnam, like many other developing countries, likes to play offline. Except for supermarkets and restaurants, all deals are open for bargaining. Imagine the feeling of winning after you manage to lower the price of an item and you will feel encouraged to haggle!

As a general rule, you need to know the price of some things before haggling. A polite opening might be, “Can you give me a little discount?” or “It’s too expensive for me”. If the store owner doesn’t have any indication that the price has been fixed, you can continue your “war”. Try two-thirds of what’s on offer (or even half if you feel it’s necessary) and haggle until both sides come to an agreement.

Remember that the closer you are to the tourist area and the richer you look, the more overpriced that product will be. You’ll soon realize that feeling satisfied is more important than getting the actual value of what you want to buy.

For more specific advice on shopping in Vietnam, read our bargaining tips.

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