Travel Talk

Published on February 6th, 2012 | by Ann Rickard

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Travel Talk – Getting what you didn’t bargin for

WE ALL enjoy a bit of bargaining at the markets when we travel. It’s part of the fun of a purchase. Especially in Asia. But how often have you spent considerable time trying to get a stallholder down another peg or two only to return to your hotel for some gleeful gloating over your cheap purchase to realise you argued so hard and long for the sake of … oh, about 50 cents?

The adage that you should start halfway down the first asking price and then come gradually up holds true for most bargaining situations.

 

On the Great Wall of China several years ago I gave in at the first asking price to a hobbling old woman selling silk scarves. Of course I found the same scarves for less than half her price at the next stall along the wall, and of course, the scarves were not silk. I should have been alerted to her rip-off the minute our transaction was completed when the old woman became sprightly and raced down the wall practically doing handstands.

In a small Thai village, I was completely taken in by a bunch of women all selling the same things at negotiations.

beating someone down when they obviously work so hard for so little.

On the Great Wall of China several years ago I gave in at the first asking price to a hobbling old woman selling silk scarves. Of course I found the same scarves for less than half her price at the next stall along the wall, and of course, the scarves were not silk.

I should have been alerted to her rip-off the minute our transaction was completed when the old woman became sprightly and raced down the wall practically doing handstands

. In a small Thai village, I was completely taken in by a bunch of women all selling the same things at stalls side by side in a long row. One by one they pulled me to their bit of crap, insisting theirs was “better quality” and giving me convincing stories of hungry children waiting to be fed at home. One woman rubbed her baby belly and made pleading signs with her eyes until I bought all her little wooden jewellery boxes. This started an explosive argument with the other women. I fled. In my hotel room an hour later, every box fell apart.

I am easily beaten in the bargaining game, but it’s my small part in helping local economies.

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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.



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