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Tips To Make You Better At Bargaining


In all aspects of life, we hate giving too much for less – it is natural, we are wired that way. Now,imagine buying an item, only to get home and find out from a friend that you got milked double the actual price.

How would it feel?

You will agree it would be a big ouch. And if you have done it before, then it would be a big double ouch.

I will set off from here with an example of mine. I once saw on a boutique display window a shoe that I really liked, which I judged to be costing a certain amount of money. It was a beautiful sport’s shoe, which in fact I had been looking for a really long time with zero success that it almost felt like a forbidden longing. I didn’t have the money firsthand, so I did the obvious. I went and hustled for the money however way I could – including calling my uncle and lying about a trip to Mombasa.

And in the next few days my efforts had paid me handsomely. So I went to my boutique and found my shoe lying comatose on its rack waiting for me. It knew I was coming, and I had the money. And therefore, this time, it looked more beautiful and attractive. Immediately I got in the boutique, without further ado, I pointed to the keeper my dream shoe. And him being who he was, a well-groomed stocky and bearded gentleman, he retrieved the shoe from its rack like a tray of eggs and handed it over to me for scrutiny.

And I tell you what? The manufacturer had my feet in mind when he was making that shoe. It fitted perfectly like a glove, and gave me that seductive look that said, “If you leave me, you will never find another one like me”. He told me the price and without hesitation, I reached to my shallow pockets and willingly barter traded a pair of shoe with a whole Ksh.2000 in one cool evening – the biggest transaction I made in my whole life of high school – for the record.

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I was so lucky and happy that I afforded the shoe – at least that was the best part of it. The worst part was that, after a few weeks I bumped into a buddy of mine in exact the same shoe. After an exchange of pleasantries, I asked him how much he bought his shoe. I have never believed up to this day what he said, he said he bought it for Ksh.850. You can imagine how I felt, I didn’t even tell him how I bought mine. And to add salt to the injury, my shoe only lasted for a month and begged to be dumped. Now that’s a double ouch.

Here is the thing, in a free market, the seller never has a particular price for his commodities. It all depends on who is buying. And the more the naïve the buyer is, the more advantageous it is to the buyer. And because you don’t want to be like the ‘toast’me that made the seller sleep with a big exaggerated smile that night.

I will itemize for you a few ways in which you can be able to bargain effectively and end up feeling like your point of view was taken into consideration, and at the same save a good amount of money without feeling like a tightwad.


Create rapport

Befriend the seller, let him or her know you are human and he or she is human too. And human beings love to connect. The benefit of this is that, it will offer you a neutral ground where you and the seller can settle a compromise effectively without feeling like strangers.

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Don’t be cynical

As a buyer, it is good to show the seller that you also care for him or her. That the transaction will be of equal effect to both of you. You can do this by simply saying something like, “I really know you want to sell me this shoe just like I want to buy it from you, and at a good price, but I have this certain amount of money”. Chances are that the seller will dance to your tune.


Forget the title

Most people believe that only certain commodities and places can be bargained, which is wrong. Bargain anything that has no price tag, from a vehicle to a teaspoon. And also bargain everywhere. I have a friend who bargains even in a chemist, and the good news is that, she ends up getting a good cut of the price. And everyone goes home happy.


Walk away

You have not been glued there and don’t look excited for what you are buying. So, if a voice is telling you the item is being overpriced, feel free to walk away.  And the good thing here is that, they won’t let you.


Talk less

Talk only when it is necessary, if you are too talkative, you are denying the seller a chance to come down to your level. The trick here to maintain long pauses in-between the bargain, because the seller is human, and he or she will probably think has offended you and give you a cut.


Behave like you have option

Even though you might be desperate with the item, don’t show it to the seller. They might take it as an advantage to suck your pockets empty.

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Look for flaws

Be the eagle eyed mother and that only looks for mistakes. In a utensil look for a stain, in a pair of trouser look for a detached seam and be quick to point out. The trick here is to shed the seller a little confidence and you might win him over. Here you might as well include your knowledge about the product.


Those are just but a few ways in which you can haggle effectively. You can source other materials that can help you not put the tail between the legs next time you discuss price with a friend.


Written and submitted by: Derrick Mwangi







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