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Prices and rules of buying stuff

View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Prices in Turkey are generally not too high, but there is generally a lot of room to bargain. Tips 1 and 2 below are gleaned mainly from a couple experiences in Istanbul; the rest are observations. Here are the two main experiences I draw from:

First experience (positive)
We have found that salesmen will often lower their prices even if we don't offer a price, provided that we take enough time in their shop (enough to, say, have the tea they offer). Our best was in Istanbul, where we almost bought a rug. The starting price was 700 TL (1USD = 1.5 TL, 1 CAD = 1.35 TL), and we couldn't buy without showing pics to the person we're buying for. Over the course of more than an hour, the price went down to 250TL (550 cad to 200 cad), without us ever offering a price where we'd be willing to buy, and reducing by about 100 TL each time (each time he reduced to the price I was thinking of bidding).

Second experience (negative)
For paragliding, we paid the tour group 150TL. It was cancelled because of the weather, and could not be rescheduled for the same day because that company was overbooked. So we got our money back. To our surprise, someone in our group found a place that had spots, and which was 20TL cheaper (130 TL)! We were happy to book there for later in the afternoon. Later on we walked along the main strip, and 2 blocks away from the place where we were booked for the afternoon the guy started talking to us about Turkish baths and paragliding. We asked prices, and his offering price was 100TL for paragliding. That was 50TL less per person than through the tour group, and 30 TL less than the one we had just booked. Presumably we could have had it even cheaper had we negotiated. We tried to cancel at the other place, spending over an hour there and pretending Sue was too scared to do it; they said they'd try to find people to take our spot but that probably wasn't true. In the end they offered us to cancel with a fee of 30 TL per person, which we refused. So for that, had we walked an extra block, we'd have saved about 50 cad had we walked an extra block before booking. In the end it was a lot of fun though, so we only were bitter toward the city for a few hours.

1. Bargain (some of these tips are time-consuming, only worthwhile for an expensive piece)

1a. Accept the tea. Talk to them, listen to them, and they'll lower the price as time passes.
1b. Ask them to lower the price more.
1c. Tell them you can't buy right away, but have to check with someone back home. Take pics. Stay in the store. They'll prob keep lowering their price.
1d. Walk out of the store. They may well lower their price again.
2. Do not offer a price until they have lowered their price several times.
This becomes a lower bound for negotiations and doesn't help anything.

3. Never buy anything from the shops nearest the entrance (first shop on the street, or shop nearest the entrance to a shopping district, or closest to the hotels or attraction). The prices are generally 20-30% higher.

4. Shop around before taking recommendations.

Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged shopping

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