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Bargaining in Malaysia.

Ben van Wijnen

"It is a cheerful part of the holiday in the tropics: sparring with the local market trader about the price. That's part of it. Fixed prices, they don't do that. Buying is negotiating. After some verbal pushing and pulling, not much is left of the original price of a souvenir. There is a deal. Buyer happy, seller too."


You're frightened; you don't dare. You're a tourist in Malaysia. How do you bargain? How do you start the bargaining in a shop, where prices are fixed with a sticker!
Well, actually, it's very easy!

Bargaining is an art, but do not overdo it. Markets, streets and many shops can be bargained and this is also expected from the buyer. Bargaining in stores you will not. There are "fixed prices". The asking price can be high especially for tourist products. Take your time, stay always friendly and see it as a game. Do not show too much with your face that you think the amount is too high. Keep smiling. Look further and compare prices. If you have come to an agreement, the purchase is closed and you can not dispense with your purchase. Stay reasonable in how far you go in your negotiation.

For example: you want to buy a digital camera. Because the latest camera's are for sale in Malaysia. One month sooner than in Europe or Australia. 
I walk into the Photoshop and point the latest Fuji camera. You ask the sales assistant, if you can have a look, and the assistant takes it from the shelf.  On the camera is a sticker: 1450 RM.
No matter what the price sticker indicates, ask the sales assistant, "HOW MUCH!".
He will immediately take out his pocket calculator, punch it a few times and show you a figure: 1250 RM ..... and that STARTS the bargaining process.
Tell him that the price is too high or that you don't like the price.  You don't like the price. You take the calculator and you punch another figure. For example: 1050 RM. 
Try it, it is fun and I assure you all our shop assistants have a great sense of humour. 
If you don't succeed in buying the camera you have at least sharpened your skills.

The picture below is showing a Fuji X-S1 and above you see the Merry Photoshop near the Komtar building on Penang!




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