When traveling, there are a few things that you can expect to happen almost everywhere you go, while there are other things that only tend to occur in certain places. For example, one common interaction that many tourists will experience wherever they go is the art of haggling. This is where local traders will try to sell souvenirs to tourists for potentially high costs while they try and drag the price down.
A forum user has broached the issue of haggling with other travelers on the platform to figure out whether being “ripped off” by locals is all that bad in the grand scheme.
Is A Price Worth Paying?
The original poster (OP) explains that she is in Vietnam and staying in one of the most popular tourist spots. However, throughout her trip, she has found herself haggling with local salesmen and women and is beginning to feel bad about it.
On the day she posted, she had paid the equivalent of $3 for some souvenir greeting cards and $2 for some donuts. She says that on both occasions, she thought she was being ripped off and paying significantly more than a local would and that her husband quickly reminded her of that fact.
Taken For A Ride
While she accepts that she had been “taken for a ride” in one sense, she actually felt relatively happy about it. She earns good money and understands that the money she gives to the local vendors could make their day a little easier.
If she was at home, she wouldn’t have even batted an eyelid at paying that much money for souvenirs/snacks. OP believes that haggling on these prices would have effectively been the exploitation of someone more vulnerable than her.
In offering her thoughts to the travel forum, she wanted to a) convince other people of her way of thinking and b) check that she wasn’t just being a “dumb tourist.” So here is what other travelers had to say on the matter…
A Dumb Tourist Or A Wise Owl?
Most people in the comments were on board with OP’s opinion on haggling. The top was from someone who explained the point better than OP. It read:
“I remember once haggling for the sake of haggling in Peru. I wanted to pay the equivalent of €3 for a cup, and she wanted €4. After a while, I realized that the extra €1 meant nothing to me, but for her, it could be half the family's dinner cost.
Fair For Me
Now, I pay what I feel is fair for me, and if they get more, good for them. But, I suspect most of them don’t have the option of getting on a plane halfway across the world to see mountains or castles and that every little extra cash counts!”
However, some people didn’t agree with everything that OP had said, with one user taking exception to the fact that she labeled haggling as “exploitation”. In contrast, another person warned that it is a “mistake to compare prices at home with prices abroad.”
What Do You Think?
Has this given you a different perspective on haggling, or do you think it’s still fair game to try and drive the price of souvenirs down when abroad? Let us know what you think in the comments.