The Principles of Bargaining in Egypt
Contrary to many other countries, the price of nearly every item for sale in Egypt can be bargained. Ranging from marketplaces to souvenir stores, camel boys around the pyramids and cab drivers, understanding the fundamentals of bargaining will save you money and perhaps provide some unforgettable and joyful moments.
These fundamentals are listed as follows.
1. Don’t start bargaining in Egypt unless you are genuinely interested in an item or product
Never bargain just for the fun or practice of it, as it is not a means for exploitation. Rather it should result in a jointly beneficial transaction to the benefit of both parties.
2. Have a price in mind
Estimate beforehand the worth of the item you are interested in, and the price you are willing to pay to acquire it.
3. Always ask the seller to offer a price before you do
Typical questions like ‘how much you want to pay?’ or ‘what do you think it is worth?’ will be asked by most sellers. Proposing a price first will give them the advantage and you will never know if you are paying above limit. Your proposed price may be higher than the item’s worth and this will be exploited by the seller who will behave as though the item is under priced.
4. Offer about half of what you would be prepared to pay for the item
If you think that the seller’s offer is too high, offer about a half of what you would be ready to pay for the item. Typically, the seller’s first offer will be about double of what they are willing to accept. Therefore, there will be considerations for a bargain.
5. Take it in turns to adjust your price
Once your initial offer is presented, do not adjust or make a second offer until the seller has reduced theirs. Afterwards, adjust your price in turns. Early reduction of your offer reveals a weakness, giving the seller the advantage while reducing your bargaining options.
6. Remember that you can always walk away
Avoid the pressure of negotiations to agree to a price you are unhappy with. Do not forget that you can always walk away. Saying that you will need to consider it and leaving the store can frequently result in huge price cuts. Otherwise, you can always return some other time.
7. Show them the money
You can well show your seriousness and final offering by really removing the money from your purse or wallet and reaching out as if to hand it over. This would be most efficient if you limit the money in your wallet to what you are willing to offer, such that the seller can see that there is no money left inside.
8. Separate foreign currency from local currency
Ensure not to expose your credit cards and foreign currency when bargaining, as it is easier to bargain if you make only a few Egyptian pounds visible to them. Also, if some sellers see that you possess foreign currency, they may attempt to persuade you.
9. Learn some Arabic
In order to have some affinity and show your bargaining experience in Egypt, you should learn to express yourself in Arabic.
For instance, the Arabic translation for “not in this lifetime” is “Fill Mesh Mesh” which makes a cheery reply for a price that is way too high.
10. Smile throughout
Bargaining in Egypt should be enjoyable and not edgy. Smile regularly and let sellers’ offers amuse you. Be vigorous and playful, and you will likely get better prices as the seller gets comfortable.