Not haggling at all can drive up prices for locals, while haggling too much can make the world’s poor even poorer. So what’s a traveler to do? We asked market vendors and experts for their two cents.
There are two types of travelers in this world—those who love haggling and those who hate it.
The first derives a genuine thrill from standing in the hot sun in a Southeast Asian market haggling for 20 minutes and pretending to walk away numerous times—just to save $1.80 on a pair of sunglasses that were already 90 per cent cheaper than at home.
The second is wracked with guilt. Unused to bargaining in their own country, they find it confronting. They’re keenly aware they make more money in one month than the locals do in a year and worry that every dollar they knock off the price means another one of the merchant’s children will go hungry that night.