Tiangge shopping in the PH? You have to learn the art of haggling
Now that you know the basics of tiangge shopping in the Philippines, it’s time to move on to the nitty-gritty, savvy tips. With cash in hand and comfortable shoes on your feet, it’s time to learn more about the strategies of getting the best deals possible through, of course, haggling.
Haggling is an art. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and even the most experienced tiangge shoppers can have a difficult time haggling. There are lots of different strategies you can employ to get the best price for an item, but here are some tried and tested ones that have definitely worked in the past.
Keep in mind, though, that different stores (or stalls) have different policies. Some are open to haggling (or tawad), but some may operate on a fixed price basis. If you’ve figured out which policy the store you’re interested in has, these tips can help you get the best bang for your buck.
Before you even begin the tawad process, the best thing you can do for yourself is to look around. Different stalls can sell the same item at different prices. Before you commit to buying from a certain place, make sure to look around to check if there’s anyone else selling the items you want at a lower price.
Shamelessness will get you very far when you’re tiangge shopping. While people may take it as an affront to the seller, it will probably get your money further than someone who doesn’t try to lowball for the item they desire.
My personal rule of thumb (for when I’m feeling extra competitive) is to start with half the price of the item and bargain up from there. You can increase your offer for increments of P10 and up, depending on its original price. From there, you can likely agree on a middleground price that’ll satisfy you and the seller.
As a balikbayan, odds are that you’re shopping for souvenirs (or pasalubong) for a lot of people. There are your friends, extended family, and the cutie you want to impress at the coffee shop (or not, who knows).
If you’re buying one or more of the same item, ask if you can buy the set at a lower price. So for example, you’re eyeing three “I <3 The Philippines” shirts that cost P300 each. Ask if you can buy the three for maybe P250 each, so you end up with a better deal.
If you’re not the most competitive shopper, asking for the “last price” is going to save you a lot of time and arguments. Sellers who are open to haggling usually set a specific price of how low they’re willing to sell a certain item. If an item is initially priced at P500, the last price might be P430.
If you don’t have the patience (or time) to tawad, the last price will give you the satisfaction of scoring a discount and a personal sense of accomplishment of still haggling—kind of.
While the final tip isn’t about haggling, it’s probably the most important one you’ll need to keep in mind. Having cash on you and looking like a tourist could potentially make you a victim of pickpockets.
Pickpockets aren’t exclusive to the Philippines, but with times being hard, they’re definitely lurking around these places. Make sure to be vigilant when it comes to your valuables. Always put your phone and important documents in either your front pockets hidden by your bag, or bring a bag that’s secured with zippers and keep it under your arm at all times.
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And do not ever, ever wave around wads of cash. While this may seem like common sense, you can accidentally reveal the currency you have in your wallet if you’re excited or in a rush. Always be aware of your surroundings and have presence of mind if you want this experience to be a positive one.
With all that being said, happy shopping!