markets

Bargaining is a Learning Process, Kandy, Sri Lanka

By: sachilefever on March 8, 2006 - 8:14pm

Bargaining is a way of life here, as it is in most of Asia and other parts of the world. We, and most Americans, are just not good at it because we've never really had to do it on a daily basis. Or maybe I should say hourly basis. Everything is up for bargaining - Food, crafts, hotel rooms, tips for the people who store your shoes at the temples. It's a little exhausting just because on top of trying to bargain smarter, we have no notion of how much things should cost. We know they raise the prices for tourists (sometimes even 3 or 10 times the local price), but knowing what we should pay as a tourist is a tricky deal. I think you need a driver to clue you in or just spend enough time in a city or country to get a feel of the markets.

Lee has been learning to bargain better. I think he did well in Singapore, but we're still getting used to the price conversions here. For the price of a collared dress shirt in the US, you can apparently buy a nice wardrobe for a year here - as a local. After every transaction, Lee just shrugs his shoulders and guesses the price sounds right. We feel much more like tourists than anywhere else so far. We'll figure it out more as we go.


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