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Published: October 11th 2011
It's a regular circus at this beach
In a perfect world, as an alternative to having to take an Intro to Negotiating course in college, professors should be able to send their students to Indonesia, where everything is negotiable. It's a lot of fun negotiating with the guys here for anything--I haggle for everything now, just because I get a kick out of it. It's not rude or unusual--it's just the way it is here. It's normal.
The conditions for negotiating here are quite favorable, as there is usually someone else selling the same thing somewhere nearby for around the same price. One of the first things they teach you in negotiating is never accept the first offer. The people I've negotiated with here have learned this lesson as well, but they use it in the wrong way--for example, if they tell you at first that something costs $10, and you say "ok" and agree to pay for it, they'll then stop and think "shit, I could have gotten more", and then say "no, no, sorry, it really costs $20". It's socially acceptable to tell them "no, f#*% off" at this point. They won't be offended.
As you never want to give away your position in
The circus continues
negotiating, you also need to have a point at which you'll walk away and go for your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Generally, your best alternative is the guy next door who is selling the exact same thing, for the exact same price. If you start to walk away, they'll follow you, so using that tactic after showing a slight interest in a product is an effective method for dropping the price here.
My favorite item that I've purchased thus far has to be the blow gun that I picked up on the beach the other day. Yes, guys walk around selling hand made blow guns on Kuta Beach--he also was selling bow and arrow sets, but I wasn't in the market for that. I made him show me that it worked, and it did. I had visions of something out of a James Bond flick, where someone grabs their neck in pain, then passes out temporarily, but unfortunately, he didn't sell the neon green poisonous frogs to go along with the darts.
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