How to bargain in Istanbul

Different countries have different types of cultures and customs. However, Turkey has one of the primary cultures or customs you may say is about bargaining in the price of the products. To save you from paying high prices to the sellers, Istanbul E-pass provides you a complete guide of how to bargain in Istanbul while shopping.

Updated Date : 25.08.2021

How to Bargain in Istanbul

This time our topic is not just traveling to Istanbul. Instead, our subject is our cultural differences. 

You must have heard the insistence of Istanbul and the Turks on bargaining. Are you sure this is true? Or how much do we bargain?

Now let's go beyond the known. Some information you may be familiar with. We hope some information will be very informative.

Let's go step by step.  

Bargaining in Turkish culture

There is a saying that Muslim Turks use:  "Negotiation is tradition." 
You will also come across Muslim Turks who have never heard of this sentence. As in every culture, different societies and families follow different customs. Bargaining in Turkish culture and residential areas can be "flattening the price."

Flattening the Price

You can call it "Smoothing the price." It is the type of bargain. We learned this from our elders, especially in the open-air markets in local areas. For example, if the price comes to $27 when you buy two kilos of tomatoes, you can buy it for $25. Or, if a silver bracelet in the Grand Bazaar costs 270 TL, you can ask to buy it for 250 TL. In another way, you are eliminating the coins or small parts by rounding the price down.

Are you suitable for bargaining?

Have you ever watched yourself before the bargain? Are you dazzling with your silk shawl or gold bracelets, or your Rolex watch? Unfortunately, almost all of the sellers are like the connoisseur of human nature. Your attitude, the way you talk, your accent, your clothing will tell the seller how much you need to bargain or not. We are not saying you dress poorly, but if you have a structure that already keeps the bargaining numbers up, you must be determined and clear about what you want.

Age Matters

It is a common situation, especially in local areas. It may be the most important and unspoken detail for a small boutique or open-air market bargain. For example, if you are an elderly and charming lady, the seller does not have much of a chance to bargain. Or, if you are a gentle mature gentleman, you can buy your wife an unforgettable ring or shawl and then buy a coffee. Because the bargain started 1-0 and ended 1-0, you won.

Which Places Not Bargaining Friendly?

Yes, here is the handicap! But, because bargaining is not something, the last two generations have been able to do very well. They seem pretty fine with that actually as we see that the shopping malls are jam-packed.

But there are places where bargaining is not lovely, and that would not be accepted.

  • All Shopping Mall Stores
  • All Restaurants & Cafes
  • International Chain Coffee Houses
  • Corporate Companies
  • Tickets for Events including; Performing Arts, concert, cinema, theater, etc.
  • Public transportation such as buses, subway, ferry, minibus, etc.

Shopping Guide Step by Step

Step No.1 - Be sure you know what you are buying.

At shopping, if you have a huge question mark about what you would like to buy, it causes difficulty for shopping. Be sure you want it. Do your research, if you can, before purchasing. This makes you go to the target easier.

Step No.2 - Do not show what you primarily want.

Showing them what you like clearly increases the value of that product. As soon as the seller understands this, the bargain price of the product will start from the highest level of mind can take. So show the seller that you want a product similar to the one you like. Then pretend like you want the actual one as an alternative to the other. But play well because they see many people like you.

Step No.3 - With cash, you always get better bargains. 

When you use a credit card, you pay serious rates to VAT. It's not only you but also the seller. So always have cash with you for small and medium purchases.

Step No.4 - The first person to offer the price must be the seller.

Don't let the seller be the first to ask this question:  "What are you offering?" or "What's your budget?"  If you are not familiar with the shop or seller, keep your budget hidden. Let the seller be the first to bid. Perhaps most easily, You can start by asking: "How much is that?".

Step No.5 - Pretend like you didn't like the offer.

Was the offer attractive at the end? Start moving away from the product as soon as you are interested. Take a step or two and say, "Anyway, there is nothing to do anymore." Maybe some more discounts may come in an instant.

The Final Word

What we call bargaining is part of the free market economy. We don't want to upset you, but the person who profits from any bargain will always be the seller. So when you go to another store and come across alternative prices and exciting options, you may be confused. Don't worry. If you spend even a penny, that seller will be going to his children with ice cream this evening, thanks to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it acceptable to bargain in Istanbul?

    Yes, bargaining types would change depending on the region you are visiting.

  • How much should you haggle in Turkey?

    As much as you can! During shopping, 30%-40% in tourist areas can be acceptable. And for accommodation 10%-20% can be asked.

  • How do you negotiate in Turkey?

    During the negotiation, the seller offers a price. You offer the price that's right for you. Maybe the half? The seller then provides a closer but the lower price to his own. You can give a reasonable price. Eventually, the seller accepts a price at the midpoint.

  • Are clothes cheap in Turkey?

    There are suitable clothes for every budget and every style. If the cloth you find is more expensive than you expected, and the shop allows bargaining, you can ask for a discount.

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