• Jayanth Dev

Bargaining Like An Indian While Travelling In India (And Avoid Rip-offs!)


India is a fascinating country with cultural diversity. It is a blessed land with rich history and regions of varying climate and weather. You’ll find urban and rural areas, some ancient tribes, and even metropolitan cities. However, you will also find different types of people. They will be honest to god, while others will be more cunning. You have to be cautious because while India is a captivating land, it is equally dangerous!

The Need For Bargaining


It is a global rule of thumb. When you see a tourist, you find an opportunity to increase your sales. Tourism is one of the wealthiest industries in the world. However, in India, it comes down to the economic difference.

For example, by standards, a single US dollar can be equal to around 60-80 Indian rupees. It is a drastic price difference for the Indians. While $100 might not be too much for you, it is what most of the low-class people earn. $300 is the average salary.

So when they sport a tourist, they start to elevate the price of their items. If you have plenty of money, you won’t overthink before spending $1 for a single bottle of water, right? Thus, they might also increase the price of their goods by twice or thrice, which would be an extra dollar or five for you.

So, Here Are Some Of The Best Bargaining Tips


  • The 10% Rule: Put your game face on and cut down the price of anything offered to you by 90%. That’s right, if they offer something for 1,000 rupees, cut it down to 100 rupees. This trick works primarily for street vendors because they don’t know how much they should price something for you, they try to oversell. Often, anything street vendors don't excel at more than $5 in India.

  • The Cold Face: Don’t fall for their sympathy stories and tales. People will try to appeal to your emotions and tell you stories about hungry family members and so on. At any cost, please don’t fall prey to their puppy eyes and cute faces.

  • Ask For Help: This part brilliantly works if you are travelling alone without any guide or translator. By asking a passerby for help, you will be able to get a better insight. They will explain to you if something is genuinely priced or not. At best, they might still allow something to be sold for twice the actual price, but it is better than getting something for 10x the amount.

  • Search The Market: Don’t stick to a single shop or vendor. They’ll easily fool you. It is almost a custom for Indians to explore multiple shops for offers. If you do the same, you’ll learn how each shop offers different prices. If the price difference is too drastic, you can understand how they are trying to loot you. Therefore, you can use this to your advantage and bargain better.

  • Help The Local Vendors: You’ll find many showrooms and marketplace that offer authentic Indian goods. However, they are mostly tied with your guide or travelling agency for a certain profit. You can instead help the local vendors by buying the same goods for a lower price. Now, this sounds contradictory to the ‘Cold Face.’ But the truth is, you can explore the showrooms first and then the market, after gaining knowledge, you can decide which one was cheaper for you.


The Admirable Goods


India’s cultural diversity has brought significant innovation in arts, goods, and crafts. You will find different cuisine in each state. Similarly, you will find differences in products, arts and heritage. Due to import and export prices, these might cost too much in your home country, but here, they seem to be cheaper. So you wouldn’t think twice before spending extra.

However, counterfeiting is also prominent in India. Many vendors sell cheaply replicated goods to make a profit. These are so brilliantly crafted that you will not be able to distinguish the difference and get tricked. Thus, it would help if you were cautious when buying something.


How To Avoid RipOffs?


Don’t buy International brands from markets and shops. Only visit official showrooms, India has plenty of those.

Ask for a second (native) set of eyes to determine the quality of the goods.

Ask your guide or search the Internet to learn where you’re most likely to encounter counterfeited goods.

Treat everything that is not branded as locally-manufactured. These tend to be very cheap, as stated above, around $5 is their value most of the time.


So Have Fun!


These points and tips should hopefully be able to help you with bargaining in India. India is a very complicated country. Even the local folks of India often fall prey to the ripoffs. So enjoy it and take it as a fun experience if it happens to you. Apart from that, keep these points in mind and make some memories!

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