- Don’t be afraid to say “No.” Try not to look too interested or the price will go up. Instead ask a lot of questions and act like you’re having trouble making up your mind. If they won’t give you the price you want, just say no and walk away. If it’s something you really need, don’t panic. You might find a better deal elsewhere and you can always come back. If you’re lucky, they might say “Wait!” and offer a lower price.
- Be friendly but firm. There’s no need to be a jerk when haggling. The vendor is trying to make a living, just like you. Be polite, but don’t let him push you around, either. Again, don’t be afraid to say something like, “No thanks. Have a good one,” and move on.
- Don’t be too cheap, either. If you offer $10 and he’s asking $100, it’s about as annoying as him asking $1000 for something that clearly is only worth $100. Get the best price you can, but be realistic. Otherwise he won’t want to waste any more time with you and will probably start talking to another potential customer.
- Don’t stand for overly greedy vendors. This is related to the previous point. If you offer $100 and he demands $1000, say “That’s ridiculous. I’ll give you $90.”
- Become a “regular.” If you find a vendor you like, it might be worth going back to him even if the next week someone else has slightly lower prices. It’s easier to get discounts from people you see every week.
- Don’t bother with the sympathy technique. Some people might disagree with me on this, but in a post-shtf world, most vendors won’t have time for sob stories. They might feel bad for you, but they will have problems of their own and will usually still sell to a higher bidder.
- Look for things your friends/neighbors need. Let’s say your neighbor really needs a cast-iron skillet and you find a really good deal on one. Go ahead and get it because later you can barter with your neighbor for something you need.
- Beware of the “bait and switch.” Sometimes the items on display might be of a much higher quality than the ones they’re actually selling. If this happens, don’t be afraid to say, “No, I want the one on display or else I want a lower price.”
- Have a good poker face. Some vendors are very good at reading microexpressions. If they can tell you’re anxious to buy something, they’re not going to lower their price much.
Of course, you can’t just know how to haggle. You have to practice it. Good luck!