Haggle too hard on a much desired item and you'll get turned away, perhaps forcing you to crawl back with your tail between your legs; only to discover the price has gone up.
Push too soft on a common item however, and you'll get taken for a ride.
While losing the odd dollar here and there might not bother you, if you're a stingy backpacker looking to string your money out as long as possible, then every dollar counts.
So here are the top tips to getting a steal in Bangkok without offending the locals, or ending up in jail.
1. Early bird catches the worm.
Not only will stock be most plentiful at the start of the day, but traders generally like to make a "first sale" for the day as early as possible. The reason being, they consider an early sale a lucky omen for the rest of the day's trading.
This means traders will be much more willing to bend to your will in the morning. Later in the day - if their lucky omen has paid dividends - prices won't be so flexible.
2. The hidden door bookshelf.
Always ask if they have "other stock", a special store room, or special wholesale warehouse somewhere other than the stand.
Like a hidden door bookshelf, the entrance to the "other shop" is usually carefully camouflaged behind stock, but can also be located out the back, around the corner or upstairs.
Often traders have the good copies hidden from sight so they won't have it confiscated by authorities during raids. If they don't have a hidden store, they'll most definitely have a friend round the corner that they can bargain with on your behalf.
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