Oct 30, 2006

Bali Shopping Tip: Bargaining, Bali Money and Things to Buy

Bargaining is a must when you buy something in the art market or traditional market in

. How do you bargain for things that you want to buy? Here are few tips to help you better with
bargaining skill.

- Understand and know the price of goods you want to buy. The price of a wind chime, for instance, varies from one shop to other shop. So, go to few shops and compare the prices, you will have an idea how much the wind chimes cost. But if you don't have time to wander around, you just bargain the price. This leads us to next tip.

- Bargain for things you buy . If you say bargaining is hard, it is true for a lot of people, including me. I don't like bargaining, and it is easier to buy things in the super market. But you will almost get better price if you bargain. Here is the rule of bargaining. Bargain one fourth of the asking price, and move your way up below half price. Let say, the price of wind chimes is 5 USD, you start asking for 1.5 USD. And go up to 2 USD.

- Don't show you are interested. Say if you are interested in that wonderful fruit basket, "Oh, I got to buy one of those!", I must say, "hold yer horse", don't show that you are interested in it. Look away, and look at something else, ask for the price of something else. Pretend that you are not interested in the fruit basket, and it is the last thing on earth you want to purchase.

- Walk Away. Don't worry. This is a "standard procedure", you must walk away if you don't get the price you are willing to pay, or to give an impression that you are not really interested. They will call you back and shout, "oke, you can bargain, lady!" "4 USD for the fruit basket". You walk further, they will call again "3 USD for the fruit basket." Okay, maybe you want to get back to that seller now. If you continue walking away, there are two possibilities, number one: they will call you back with lower price, or two: they don't call you anymore, meaning you have reach the bottom.

Forget about this seller and go somewhere else, with a new and enhanced insights about what is the bottom price.

-Morning Price. What is morning price? Is it true that morning price is cheaper than afternoon or evening price? Well, most of the time it is true. When the shops open in the morning, and no customer buy anything in the shop, they will sell in lower price. Why? Because the seller believe that they have to start selling immediately to begin the flow of "money current" or "luck current" coming to their shop. They will say," thank you for buying, I give you cheap price for good luck."

What the seller intends to say is s/he makes a selling just for the sake of start selling, not for the profit. Next, you will observe that as they take the money from you, they will wipe their merchandise with the money hoping that this selling will affect the other stuff that they are selling or that other things will sell well as well.

There is another thing you will observe when shopping in Bali. You will see a lot of street vendors that that try a lot of things in the street (especially in Tegalalang village where you can see the rice teraces from the street). The way they offer what they sell is by saying, "One dollar, Sir." or "One dollar, Madam." Understand that this is only a way of attracting your attention. But the goods they sell actually cost more than one dollar. You still have to make your effort to bargain if you want to buy things from the street vendor even though it is only "one dollar".

The Bali Money?

The currency used in Bali and throughout Indonesia is Rupiah. Rupiah has had a low value especially since the monetary crisis that hit Indonesia in 1997. At the time I write this post, 1 USD equals to around RP 9000 and AUD 1 equals to around 7500. Exchanging USD 120 to rupiah, you are already a millionaire. A bottle of imported wine can be RP 200,000. A one day tour cost about half a million rupiah. You might get confused at the begining with so many noughts in our money, but you'll get used to it easily. Bring a conversion note any where you go and a calculator will be handy.

Things to buy in Bali?

Now you know how to bargain, you need to know what you can buy in Bali. First, you can buy art works. Balinese are artistics people (except me) that you can find lots of local art products. You will be able to find wooden carving, silver and gold jewelleries, Balinese style painting, hand woven cloth, wind chime from bamboo or metal, kitchenware made of coconut husks or rattan, bed cover and pillows, T shirt, trousers, motor bike made of ratan, antiques, ceramics, clay pot, and this list can be endless.

Other goods you can purchase are agricultural products. These, for istance, are Bali cofee, clove, cocoa, saffrons, vanilla, dried chilli and many others provided that you will have no problem with the Custom bringing them into your country.
Okay, happy shopping and bargaining.

Disclaimer: might not work all the time, please improvise accordingly.

You might be interested to read my other posts:How Much Are Things Cost In Bali? and The Art of Bali Bargaining

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